The natural audience for this offering is a little older than its main character: they will easily identify with Trixie’s...

READ REVIEW

KNUFFLE BUNNY

A CAUTIONARY TALE

Anguish begets language in this tale of a toddler’s lost stuffie.

Trixie and her daddy go on an errand to the local laundromat, an odyssey that takes the intrepid pair through the park and past the school and back—but “a block or so later . . . Trixie realized something.” Her desperate attempts to communicate (“AGGLE FLAGGLE KLABBLE!”) proving fruitless, Trixie resorts to time-honored toddler tactics: she bawls and goes boneless. Readers will deduce what Trixie’s clueless daddy does not: her toy bunny has been left behind. Retro-style (think Rocky and Bullwinkle) cartoons depict the human players in the drama; sepia-tinted photographs of the artist’s Brooklyn neighborhood, framed in pale green, provide the backdrops. Willems is a master of body language; Trixie’s despair and her daddy’s frazzlement as expressive as her joy (“KNUFFLE BUNNY!”) and his triumph at the excavation of the errant bunny from the washing machine.

The natural audience for this offering is a little older than its main character: they will easily identify with Trixie’s grief and at the same time feel superior to her hapless parent—and rejoice wholeheartedly at the happy reunion. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2004

ISBN: 978-0-7868-1870-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2004

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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Yet another celebrity picture book that will steal sales from far, far better ones.

YOU ARE MY HAPPY

As the day draws to a close, a parent bear recalls those events shared with their child that gratified them, from observing hatching nestlings to the stars that come out at bedtime.

The scansion works and the emotions expressed are sweet, but that’s the limit of this book’s achievement. Mason is unable to create a coherent visual narrative that explicates and expands on the nonsensical text, which opens and closes with a parental address to “my fuzzy one” but in between is unclear as to who is expressing the syrupy sentiments. The sequence of sentence fragments “For special friends who made me giggle / and silly songs that made me wiggle. // For space to play, for shade to rest, / for secret spots we love the best” is illustrated in two double-page spreads with images of the young bear first playing with a young raccoon and second intently observing a caterpillar. Although that implies the young bear is speaking, the iteration of the refrain that ungrammatically brings the sequence to a close—“That’s what made me happy”—seems to bring the narration back to the parent bear. But really, giving up on sense seems to be the best one can expect from a book with a title that inartfully co-opts an adjective as a noun.

Yet another celebrity picture book that will steal sales from far, far better ones. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-288789-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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