cover image SQUEAK'S GOOD IDEA


Max Eilenberg, , illus. by Patrick Benson. . Candlewick, $14.99 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-1591-8

This amiable toddler book about independence and planning ahead features a timorous baby elephant with whom young readers will easily identify. When his family is too busy to play, Squeak decides to brave the outside world himself. Each time he opens the door, he thinks of one more thing he needs—a scarf, an umbrella, a picnic basket—just to be "on the safe side." Benson (Owl Babies) adeptly captures Squeak's anxious anticipation of trouble. At the same time, the agreeable watercolor, pen and ink paintings feature cozy scenes and plenty of cheery spot art that lend a tone of reassurance to Squeak's solitary quest. Happily, as the apprehensive elephant takes literally one careful step at a time to the tree at the end of his walled garden, his worst fears are cheerfully allayed. Squeak's emotions are conveyed in the illustrations rather than the text, and Eilenberg's (Cowboy Kid) narrative captures spot-on the toddler mindset. Ages 2-6. (Oct.)