cover image Hugs on the Wind

Hugs on the Wind

Marsha Diane Arnold, Vernise Elaine Pelzel. ABRAMS, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8109-5968-2

Little Cottontail wishes that his grandfather ""had not gone so far away,"" and, since Mama Rabbit talks about the patriarch in the past tense, readers who can absorb the fact will gather that he has died. The long-eared hero wants Grandfather to know how much he is missed. But how? ""I will wrap my hugs around the Wind,"" says Little Cottontail to his mother. ""The Wind will blow them to Grandfather, all the way across the Great Green Meadow."" Happy with his ingenuity, Little Cottontail then sends Grandfather smiles via the clouds, and a favorite joke carried by the river. As the little bunny and his mother settle down for the night, he says, ""I think Grandfather is winking to the Stars, so they can wink at me."" The text at times turns precious, and the rabbits and other creatures tend to be more suggestive than clearly limned, but the lilting, soft language and gossamer settings (particularly when night falls on the meadow) work a soothing magic. The book may be sentimental, but it also feels genuine. Children hit hard by the passing of a loved one may well find its message healing-and empowering as well. Ages 4-7.