cover image Taking Care of Mama Rabbit

Taking Care of Mama Rabbit

Anita Lobel. Knopf, $11.99 (24p) ISBN 978-0-385-75368-5

The clan from 10 Hungry Rabbits: Counting and Color Concepts returns in this sweet story about how the young ones cheer up their sick mother. The concepts run deeper in this follow-up, as readers get an affecting look at sibling compassion and cooperation, family cohesiveness, and parent-child love. Since Papa has gone out to fetch medicine for his wife, one rabbit decides, “We have to cheer up Mama,” and the others agree. In stacked images on each page, Lobel’s richly patterned, folkloric gouache and watercolor art reveals where each rabbit finds his or her gift for the bedridden mother (a cup of hot chocolate from the kitchen, a flower from a vase, a necklace from a jewelry box) and then shows an increasingly healthy-looking Mama welcoming each therapeutic offering. The pared-down text plays a secondary role to the pictures, which feature some sly flourishes: the “good book” one bunny brings to Mama is a copy of 10 Hungry Rabbits, and the bunnies’ final present for their mother is a show in which each rabbit pops out of a magician’s top hat. Ages 3–7. (Feb.)