cover image Little Baby Buttercup

Little Baby Buttercup

Linda Ashman, illus. by You Byun. Penguin/Paulsen, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-399-16763-8

Ashman (Rain!) and Byun (Dream Friends) follow their eponymous heroine (who is actually a toddler) and her mother from wake-up to nighttime, eschewing any big highs or lows in favor of letting simple, endearing incidents accumulate. Sunny, digitally enhanced, watercolor-and-ink drawings show a round-faced girl with rosy cheeks and a ready smile as she turns a pancake into a hat, spots a bluebird, and rambles throughout the playground. Her mother, a steady presence, contentedly catalogues her daughter’s activities: “Spy a squirrel./ Pet a pooch/ Oh—a soggy doggy smooch!” Spraying Mom with a garden hose is the most serious transgression, and a skinned hand is quickly bandaged and kissed. Those seeking a little more pep and zip may not make it to the closing scene of Buttercup and her mother dozing on the couch. But it’s also easy to imagine how these pages could become a go-to source of calm and comfort. Ashman and Byun make a case that in both noticing and being noticed, we are loved and lucky. Up to age 2. Author’s agent: Jennifer Mattson, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Jan.)