RUTABAGA BOO! by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen
Kirkus Star


Age Range: 3 - 6
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A mother and son’s call-and-response tradition keeps them linked even when they aren’t together.

It’s the illustrations that do the heavy lifting in this tale since the text consists of the two titular words and a final “I always love you” at bedtime, but those pictures speak volumes. An exuberant young boy greets his sleeping mother in the morning: “Rutabaga?” The following spread show her awake and joyously swinging him up in her arms: “Boo!” The two repeat this exchange all day, the boy’s sometimes ending with a question mark, as when he can’t find her during a game of hide-and-seek, and sometimes with an enthusiastic exclamation point. But the whole day isn’t spent together—at one point mom snuggles him in what appears to be grandma’s house before leaving briefly, the boy forlorn at the door, though the two do exchange the titular words over a video chat on the computer, and great fun is had with grandma, who ultimately gets him ready for bedtime and the return of mom (caregivers may sigh at the sight of toys in a gift bag, though the boy’s ever present stuffed rabbit is never pushed aside). Adamson’s watercolor-and-pencil illustrations celebrate the bond between mother and child, and she doesn’t dwell on the separation, showing that the boy can still have fun even though the two are apart. This single-parent family is white.

A joyous celebration of a wonderful bond. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 14th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-4814-2461-5
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2017


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