Who wouldn’t want to put on a monster show in a big, cardboard box or pop bubble wrap at rapid-fire speed?
After a new television ruins “family fun time,” Chloe, the middle bunny in a brood of 21, tries to pull her brothers and sisters from its glowing grip. Colored-ink drawings hover on lush, creamy paper, offering delightfully dreamy details: the bunnies’ fur, pert mouths and dewy eyes, their clothes’ stripes and patterns, their bodies clustered together around the house. On one dizzying double-page spread, Chloe levitates at the epicenter of the domestic swirl, her family circling swiftly around her. McCarty says simply and directly to middle children everywhere, “Chloe was in the middle.” The narrative maintains perfect pacing throughout, speeding up with long sentences and slowing down with abbreviated lines that allow readers to linger on the soft, mesmerizing artwork (so many bunnies!). A bustling dinner scene shows the family nibbling on every kind of spring veggie; readers’ eyes roam from one end of the table to the other and back again, studying each whiskered face and plate. Fashion (eyeglasses, dresses, shirts) and minute tweaks in expression individualize each rabbit, while Chloe always manages to shine. McCarty captures the tensile ties strung among siblings, parents, genders and ages in every household.
Beautifully benign illustrations conjure powerful familial feelings. (Picture book. 3-6)