cover image Silly Wonderful You

Silly Wonderful You

Sherri Duskey Rinker, illus. by Patrick McDonnell. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-227105-1

Readers may recognize McDonnell’s (Thank You and Good Night) work here by the Krazy Kat schnozz on the rambunctious toddler who stars in this cozy mother-to-child love letter. Rinker (Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site) gives each sentence its own grin of a punch line. “I never imagined before you came along,” the mother muses quietly in her armchair, “that our house could get this messy and loud!” On cue, a shriek from her child propels her toward the ceiling. “Or that you’d be so silly, and giggly, and splashy, and crashy!” (in paired scenes, the mother shrinks from a shower of bathwater, and the girl overturns a vase with the imperious air of a dragon queen). “Aren’t you tired, too?” the exhausted mother asks the girl, but on the facing page, two saucer eyes peer out of the bedroom blackness. A father never appears, making the book well-suited for both single and paired mothers, and the message Rinker delivers is that children aren’t loved because they’re good—it’s this toddler’s very spiritedness that makes her so bewitching. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Amy Rennert, Amy Rennert Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Henry Dunow, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner. (Feb.)