cover image MISSING RABBIT


Roni Schotter, , illus. by Cyd Moore. . Clarion, $15 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-618-03432-1

A comfort to children who "go back and forth," Schotter's (Captain Snap and the Children of Vinegar Lane) thoughtfully conceived story addresses the anxieties of very young children living under joint custody arrangements. Kara, reluctant to leave Papa's house for Mama's, leaves her stuffed rabbit with Papa as a way of coping with the hard good-bye. At Mama's house, though, she finds herself missing Rabbit. Kara's parents are on good terms, and they rush to reassure her. "Mama phones Papa. Papa brings Rabbit." Heading back to Papa's, the same thing happens again; Rabbit gets left behind as a symbol of Kara's reluctance to leave, only to be retrieved when there is "too much missing!" "Where do I live?" Rabbit whispers into Kara's ear. It's a question Kara wonders about, too. " 'In my house sometimes,' Mama says. 'In my house sometimes,' Papa says. 'But wherever you are, you are always in our hearts,' Mama tells her." Throughout, little ditties Kara sings with each parent counterpoint the more somber theme ("Late or early, straight or curly, Noodle! Our favorite foodle!" Kara and Papa sing). Moore (the Stinky Face books) contributes endearing, soft-toned watercolor vignettes and full-page pictures in her customary, slightly stylized manner, joining Schotter in portraying both parents as responsible and affectionate, and their two households as equally loving. Ages 3-6. (Mar.)