The Night Iguana Left Home

Megan McDonald, Author, DK Publishing, Author, Ponder Goembel, Illustrator DK Publishing (Dorling Kindersley) $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7894-2581-2
With strong visual echoes of Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram's Guess How Much I Love You, this slightly forced picture book features long-legged rabbits, a simple text dressed in hand-lettered fonts, and a cozy tone full of warm fuzzies. Rosie is aghast at how small and weak her premature brother, Bobby, is at birth. ""He only weighs as much as an onion!"" agrees her mother, but her father assures Rosie they will ""fatten him up."" Eventually, the new bunny is ""nearly as heavy as a turnip,"" but Rosie thinks he looks as sickly as ever, and she will not go near him. Finally, her father tells her the story of the tortoise and the hare. In his version, the story does not include a race but is about two friends picking nuts who get separated. Trying to find his way home, Tortoise repeats to himself, ""Slow and steady does it, slow and steady will get me safely home,"" but he remains lost until Hare returns to find him with his lantern. Since the father's story seems to be more about loyal friendship than the virtues of perseverance, it seems a convoluted way to teach Rosie to trust in her tiny brother's growth. But Rosie obligingly concludes, ""Bobby is slow and steady... isn't he?"" and she holds her brother for the first time. Unlike Wild and Brooks's Old Pig, the lesson here seems strained, and the book's resemblance to the McBratney/ Jeram bestseller sets up unfortunate comparisons. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Reviewed on: 08/30/1999
Release date: 09/01/1999
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