cover image Overboard!


Sarah Weeks, , illus. by Sam Williams. . Harcourt, $14 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-15-205046-7

Weeks (Mrs. McNosh Hangs Up Her Wash ) and Williams (No More Diapers for Ducky! , reviewed above) demonstrate a toddler's seemingly endless fascination with what happens when anything is tossed over the side of, well, everything. This chipper, well-observed book catalogues a host of possible variations on the theme. As Bunny launches aerial bombardments from a highchair, crib, bathtub, stroller and other familiar vantage points, Weeks's rhymes savor the havoc wreaked with every toss, as in this mealtime example: "Drippy, slippy-slidey peaches/ Peachy peaches, nice and fat./ Peaches going.../ overboard!/ Peaches, peaches,/ splat! splat! splat!" Williams's bright saturated colors, charcoal outlines, distilled and cozily familiar compositions as well as an adorable hero or heroine (with an equally charming mouse sidekick) ensure that every fling bubbles with mischievous fun (in one spread, Bunny gives a rubber ducky a fond embrace, then hurls it across the bathroom). The book's ebullience does take a break for one moment of figurative gravity—when the long-eared protagonist becomes determined to toss a toy elephant from the top of a precipitous-looking set of stairs: "Bunny overboard?/ Oh my!/ Good thing Mama's/ right close by." One suspects this vignette was included to assuage grown-ups who spend 95% of their waking hours cleaning up after their overboard-o-philes—a figure, by the way, that is likely to rise to 100% once the kids get hold of this charmer. Ages 2-5. (Mar.)