Farewell Floppy

Benjamin Chaud, trans. from the French by Taylor Norman. Chronicle, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4521-3734-6

In this provocative study of a guilty conscience, Chaud (The Bear’s Song) introduces a boy who’s planning to get rid of his white rabbit, Floppy. “I can’t have a rabbit as a best friend anymore,” he explains. “I’m not a baby.” Echoes of “Hansel and Gretel” accompany the boy’s journey deep into the forest to let Floppy go. Sensitive readers will shift in dismay as the boy ties Floppy to a tree: “Now Floppy would never follow me again.” But it’s not that simple, of course. Suddenly anxious and indecisive, the boy realizes that Floppy won’t be free if he’s tied up. When he returns, Floppy is already gone. Crows flee in alarm as the boy tries to follow Floppy; the bare trees and the boy’s blowing hair heighten the tension. When he finds Floppy—in a far better situation than anyone might have expected—he’s shamed and enlightened at the same time. Thoughtful characterization and dreamlike forest landscapes give flavor to the boy’s changing emotions, and Norman’s translation allows Chaud’s puckish humor to shine through. Ages 3–5. (Mar.)