cover image You're Just What I Need

You're Just What I Need

Ruth Krauss. HarperCollins Publishers, $15.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-06-027514-3

Originally published in 1951 as The Bundle, Krauss's (The Carrot Seed; A Hole Is to Dig) text gets a new look with cozy illustrations by Noonan (Dreamland). A mother, pretending to be mystified by a toddler-sized lump under her blanket, tries to guess what it is: Laundry? A monkey? Humpty Dumpty? Krauss's uncanny ability to capture a child's cadence has the youngster responding with cumulative ""no"" replies, so that her mother's first question gets a "" `No,' the bundle replied,"" the second a ""No, no"" until finally the seventh wrong guess from the mother ("" `No, no, no, no, no, no, NO,' the bundle replied"") leads her to give up--and the bundle yells, ""It's ME!"" Cartoonish songbirds, fuzzy stuffed animals and a pastel palette give the realistic illustrations a nostalgic, sentimental air; their luminous glow also lends softness to the characters' skin and a palpable fluffiness to the bedding. Children are likely to enjoy knowing--and finally seeing--what's under the blanket, helped even on first reading by the feet peeking out. The sweet simplicity of this hide-and-seek story loses nothing in nearly a half century; the illustrations may be on the sugary side, but the playful affection between mother and child shines through both text and illustrations. A free gift card is included in the inside cover. Ages 3-7. (May)