cover image Nubby


Dan Richards, illus. by Shanda McCloskey. Knopf, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-5933-8109-0

When readers first meet Nubby, a blue rabbit stuffy, he’s the unhappy center of a tug-of-war between two white-presenting kids. A parent restores Nubby to his loving owner, but having been literally stretched to the limit, the rabbit decides he is “done.” He soon runs away, relying on a dog to move him about. But freedom—and hopes of friends, fame, and fortune—aren’t what he thinks they will be. Real rabbits ignore him, getting pulled out of a hat in a backyard magic show offers only fleeting glamour, and “fortunes can be lost as easily as they can be found.” By the time Nubby is retrieved from a dirt pile where the dog has dropped him in favor of a buried bone, Nubby knows where he belongs: “playing with his boy.” Messaging from Richards (Once upon a Goat) veers into well-trod Velveteen Rabbit territory (“It had been messy and loud and unruly. But it had also been close, and unspoken, and... real”), but Nubby’s reminiscences make the bunny’s self-important crankiness both funny and relatable. Digitized watercolor and pencil drawings by McCloskey (Little Red and the Big Bad Editor), a breezy counterpoint to the story’s explanatory feel, keep the action moving at a fast clip. Ages 3–7. Author’s agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Erica Rand Silverman, Stimola Literary. (Jan.)