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Bunny Roo, I Love You Hardcover – April 14, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Baby-Toddler—A sweet but less-than-successful parental love letter. Despite the title, a bunny only briefly appears. The narration begins "When I met you, you were small and trembling, and I thought you might be a little bunny," while the illustrations present a lone bunny quivering amongst bright foliage. On the next spread, a mother rabbit in an apron cuddles the bunny as the text explains, "I held you close so you were warm." On the following pages, readers are told how the little one behaves like a lost kangaroo, a curious lizard, and a thirsty kitten, each iteration necessitating some measure of comfort from an animal mother. The flow from one creature to another often feels abrupt, and some of the mother's actions may leave readers puzzled. For example, after "you" howled like a lonely wolf, the mother wolf "ran to [her] house and made you a cozy den so you had a home," a phrase that implies some separation yet feels out of place after pages of mother and child togetherness. In the end, the "you" is revealed to be the mother's human baby, but the lack of repetition and rhythm in the text and the complex comparisons lift this title well above the interest level of most babies and toddlers. White's hand-lettered text and delicate watercolor and gouache illustrations shine in spite of the narrative flaws, with a palette of earth tones against plenty of white space clearly differentiating each comparison. VERDICT Beautiful illustrations are the draw here. Unfortunately, the undistinguished text fails to find its audience.—Chelsea Couillard-Smith, Sacramento Public Library, CA
“Young children love to pretend they’re baby animals—it’s an opportunity to explore the world in new ways, while ensuring their nurturers remain close at hand. In novelist Marr’s (the Wicked Lovely series) first picture book, a mother plays along, imagining her baby and herself as six different animals as she lovingly tracks its development. ‘Then you whimpered and meowed, and I thought you might be a thirsty kitten,’ she says. ‘I offered you some milk so you would not be hungry.’ White’s (Adventures with Barefoot Critters) restrained detailing, smudged colors, and frequent use of circular framings give her watercolors a vintage-looking, pastoral prettiness. It’s also fun to see how the mother retains her essential ‘momness’ regardless of what species she assumes: as a lizard, she wears green pearls and carries an over-the-shoulder bag. With its emphasis on motherly pacifying, this warmhearted story is best suited for younger readers who are still happy to consent to all the tender doting that their caretakers are willing to dish out.”—Publishers Weekly
“A mother’s observations of her new baby lead to a series of sweet comparisons to various animals. ‘When I met you, you were small and trembling, and I thought you might be a little bunny. / I held you close so you were warm.’ Teen author Marr (Made for You, 2014, etc.) uses playful yet comforting language in her picture-book debut. The baby’s squirming kicks remind her of a ‘lost kangaroo’; a lifting of the child’s head makes her think of a ‘curious lizard’; and the little one’s howl seems like that of a ‘lonely wolf.’ Each of the child’s behaviors leads to a tender action taken by the mother: tucking the baby in, offering milk, and giving a bath. Each time a new creature is introduced, White gently changes the dominant color in the muted pastel palette of her watercolor and gouache illustrations. That hue is also reflected in the hand-lettered text, giving the overall design of the book a vintage feel. When the baby smiles, the mother knows ‘You are not a bunny-roo-lizard-wolf-kitten-piggy. You are my baby.’ The final page shows the curled-up infant asleep in a pile of blankets. A lovely package, this quiet title will be best as a gift book for new moms eager to read aloud to the newest members of their families.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Using examples from nature in which animals care for their young, a human mother describes how she cares for her own baby. She cites bunnies, who are held close; joeys, who are carried in mom’s pouch; lizards, who enjoy a patch of warm sun; wolves, who snuggle cozily in a den; kittens, who drink milk; and piggies, who calm down after a bath. When her own baby smiles, Mom replies, ‘You are not a bunny-roolizard-wolf-kitten-piggy. You are my baby.’ Marr’s soothing text (‘When I met you, you were small and trembling, and I thought you might be a little bunny. I held you close so you were warm’) should prove calming for lap-sitting infants just beginning to focus on illustrations. White’s watercolor and gouache artwork exhibits a cozy feel, with realistically drawn animals posed against simple, recognizable settings. This makes a good choice for one-on-one sharing or as a baby story-hour selection paired with Mary Murphy’s I Kissed the Baby! (2003).”—Booklist