TATTY RATTY

Helen Cooper, Author, Helen Cooper, Illustrator . FSG $16 (32p) ISBN 978-0-374-37386-3

It looks like Molly's eponymous stuffed rabbit may be missing for good, but the girl takes comfort in imagining a picaresque future for him: a circuitous journey home that includes encounters with the Three Bears, Cinderella, fierce pirates, a friendly dragon and the Man in the Moon. But Tatty Ratty makes Errol Flynn–like moves and proves himself both resourceful and savvy ("He'll find a way to escape," says Mom when Molly throws in the pirate plot as a complication. "He always does"), and he does not shy away from biting Cinderella when she tries to brush his fur. Mom and Dad bring the saga to a close by suggesting that Molly look for Tatty Ratty in a rabbit-themed toy shop. With a knowing wink, Cooper (Pumpkin Soup) gives Dad a plum quote, "Remember, he might look different," while Mom chimes in, "And he'll be very clean and fluffy." Sure enough, Tatty Ratty awaits Molly on a shelf—literally as good as new. On each spread, small realistic spot illustrations of Molly unspooling her story (with assistance from her understanding parents) during meals, bath and bedtime serve as counterpoint to full-page, fanciful pictures of the bunny's adventures, and inject an immediacy and improvisational verve into every new escapade. Never patronizing or sentimental, this is a wise and respectful tribute to children's storytelling powers. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 12/24/2001
Release date: 03/01/2002
Genre: Children's
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