cover image Bunny Roo, I Love You

Bunny Roo, I Love You

Melissa Marr, illus. by Teagan White. Penguin/Paulsen, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-399-16742-3

Young children love to pretend they’re baby animals—it’s an opportunity to explore the world in new ways, while ensuring their nurturers remain close at hand. In novelist Marr’s (the Wicked Lovely series) first picture book, a mother plays along, imagining her baby and herself as six different animals as she lovingly tracks its development. “Then you whimpered and meowed, and I thought you might be a thirsty kitten,” she says. “I offered you some milk so you would not be hungry.” White’s (Adventures with Barefoot Critters) restrained detailing, smudged colors, and frequent use of circular framings give her watercolors a vintage-looking, pastoral prettiness. It’s also fun to see how the mother retains her essential “momness” regardless of what species she assumes: as a lizard, she wears green pearls and carries an over-the-shoulder bag. With its emphasis on motherly pacifying, this warmhearted story is best suited for younger readers who are still happy to consent to all the tender doting that their caretakers are willing to dish out. Up to age 2. Author’s agent: Merrilee Heifetz, Writers House. Illustrator’s agency: Tugeau2. (Apr.)