cover image OUR TWITCHY


Kes Gray, Paula Polk Lillard, Mary McQuillan, , illus. by Mary McQuillan. . Holt, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-7454-3

Families truly do come in all sizes, colors—and even species—according to this tender picture book about adoption from a British team. Twitchy, a young rabbit, wonders why Mom and Pop don't hop the way he does. Mom and Pop, who happen to be a cow and a horse, respectively, begin an honest, gentle explanation, which includes how they happily took over the special responsibility of loving and caring for Twitchy when his Bunnymom and Bunnypop could not. Initially hurt and confused, Twitchy wrestles with issues of appearance until he realizes that love, not physical resemblance, make his four-legged parents "real." Gray (Eat Your Peas ) deftly balances emotions in this entertaining and ultimately reassuring story. Many adoptive families, especially, will appreciate that he presents authentic childhood concerns about a sometimes difficult-to-approach topic without using a heavy hand (the author also focuses on the important similarities: "I see two great big kind smiles that always make me feel happy," Twitchy tells his parents as he looks at the trio's reflection in a pond). McQuillan (who teamed with Gray for The Get Well Soon Book ), lends a sense of movement to her sunny paintings with very deliberate brushstrokes, lines and dabs that create appealing textures, and make her charming animal portraits and pastoral scenes pop. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)