A five-year-old’s imagination comes to his rescue when his stuffed rabbit goes missing.
Raspberry, a cuddly companion with large and expressive ears, was a gift from Grandpa to Henry on the day he was born; the two are inseparable. After the rabbit disappears and the house is turned upside down during the search, Grandpa’s “warm, knowledgeable voice” soothes the child, as does his suggestion to “imagine that you have Raspberry back!” George employs a minimalism that establishes an effective foil to the eventual blossoming of Henry’s interior world. Characters, furniture, and selected objects are formed with gentle lines of ink and filled with the color of the background—a softly textured surface that shifts across a spectrum, from gold to charcoal. In the opening scenes, a leafy branch, striped shirt, and muffin with jelly are among the collaged elements creating interest along the borders. As the theater of the child’s mind takes over, photographs of landscapes—filtered, to align with the subdued palette—are inserted. Then, artfully arranged salt concocts a snowcapped cave in which the boy and pet cook dinner; clothespins turn into crocodiles in a sea of fabric. Distracted with the pleasure of make-believe, the child even drifts off to sleep sans rabbit, although a special nocturnal delivery ensures a satisfying conclusion.
Choice words and creative visuals combine to celebrate and inspire the mind’s eye. (Picture book. 4-7)