cover image Buster and the Baby

Buster and the Baby

Amy Hest, illus. by Polly Dunbar. Candlewick, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-8787-8

Anyone who has played hide and seek will recognize that it’s knowing you will be found—but not knowing exactly when—that makes the game irresistible. Hest (Are You Sure, Mother Bear?) and Dunbar (I Will Not Wear Pink) offer ample proof as their characters, a white terrier named Buster and an unnamed toddler, embrace their roles as hider and seeker with comical cunning. Buster hides under or behind one of the large objects in the house (“Go, Buster. Go, Buster. Go, Buster, go!”) and waits for the desired discovery, his heart racing in anticipation (“thump, thump, thump!”). The wily toddler finds him (“chaaa!”), a celebration breaks out, and the game is on again. Readers will feel as though they’re in the thick of the fun thanks to the exclamations and exhortations that punctuate the narration, as well as the inviting energy of the sunny-hued pictures, which give the familiar rhythms and tensions of the game delicious immediacy. A page doesn’t go by without a wonderful moment: in one round of the game, the toddler announces her presence by dropping peas, one by one, onto Buster’s head. Ages 2–5. (Oct.)