cover image Cat & Bunny

Cat & Bunny

Mary Lundquist. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-228780-9

Lundquist’s sympathetic debut introduces inseparable friends, one in a zippered cat costume and the other in a white, long-eared bunny outfit: “Right from the start, they did everything together.” The title page pictures them swaddled among other infants in a variety of animal onesies. Cat and Bunny progress from binkies to tricycles to playgrounds, always a duo and always in their coverall suits. When Quail, a child dressed as a bird, asks to join them in their play, “Cat wasn’t sure. Bunny said, ‘Yes, of course!’ ” Bunny welcomes several children into their group and soon “was having too much fun to notice... when Cat ran away.” Lundquist ably suggests that an exclusive friendship can be stifling to one person and an anchor for the other. In amiable watercolor and pencil drawings, she pictures all the children in hooded animal costumes, a visual strategy that lets her conceal characters’ genders; this story, she implies, could be about anyone. While developing independent identities and adjusting their expectations, Cat and Bunny demonstrate how to admit new friends into a tight circle. Ages 4–8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Jan.)