Squish Rabbit

Katherine Battersby. Viking, $12.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-670-01267-1
"Squish was just a little rabbit. But being little led to big problems." Deceptively simple illustrations and economical text make this story of a little rabbit who finds a friend feel brand new. Neither art nor text tells the complete story, but interwoven they create a coherent whole. "Wonderful things..." writes debut talent Battersby as Squish Rabbit chases a red balloon; on the opposite page it sails out of reach, as the text continues, "passed him by." The next illustration depicts huge adult rabbits ignoring him, as he tries to share his story in a squared speech bubble with only a red balloon inside. Battersby's characters are created with thick, black outlines, with judicious use of crisp, color collages and watercolors lending texture. Squish actively tries to combat his loneliness, but it's not until he meets a squirrel that he is truly satisfied. The animals' expressive body language both amplifies the plot and lends emotional resonance and humor to this story about what it feels like to be little in a big world. A delightful and promising debut. Ages 2–up. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 05/23/2011
Release date: 08/01/2011
Genre: Children's
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