Little Nutbrown Hare explores colors, actions, shapes, numbers, sounds and the natural world on seven double-page spreads as his doting father looks on.
Beyond the basic captions typically found in concept books, the text includes father-and-son dialogue that echoes Guess How Much I Love You: “Would you rather be a caterpillar or a frog?” asks Big Nutbrown Hare. “I’d rather be big like you,” the little one replies. Jeram’s lovely, soft watercolors appear to be a mix of illustrations recycled from other books in the popular series and original paintings. As a concept book, it is a mixed bag. The pages focusing on numbers are the most successful, with oversized numbers on the outsides of 10 flaps and pictures of dainty critters, from one bird to 10 ladybugs, to count on the insides. Less effective is the spread demonstrating colors; it utilizes flimsier flaps with blocks of the hue in question on the exteriors and almost-too-subtle-in-color illustrations of vegetation on the interiors. While the pages titled “Actions” effectively show the young hare engaging in a nice variety of movements (including sniffing and blowing), the “Shapes” section only introduces three shapes, and the geometric square looks a little out of place in this English wood.
While this father-and-son relationship is lovely and their habitat delightful, in this case, neither is well-suited to teaching about a more conceptual world. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)