cover image The Scariest Thing of All

The Scariest Thing of All

Debi Gliori. Walker, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-80272-391-8

Timid and “very, very little,” Pip the rabbit keeps a running list of everything he’s afraid of—and he can barely keep up. As raindrops fall, he imagines “a gobbler blowing bubbles at the bottom of the lily pond.” Tree stumps? “Pip was 99.9 percent positive that they were the teeth of the giant wood troll.” So when Pip hears a recurring “Raaarrr” sound, he flees into the woods. But as the noise persists, Pip discovers it’s actually coming from his own hungry belly (“I’m the Scary Thing”). The revelation gives Pip newfound courage—and a twist shows that Pip’s fears aren’t entirely in his head. Gliori (Stormy Weather) fashions a sweet-tempered tale sure to hearten readers facing their own fears and difficulties. Her ink-and-watercolor compositions capture the emotion of the action via their scale (in the woods, pink-eared Pip is surrounded by large shadowy trees in midnight blue). The turnabout ending, which plays into the story’s gentle sense of humor, and background scenes of Pip’s family enjoying everyday activities in their cozy burrow are additional comforting touches. Ages 3–6. (June)