cover image The Snatchabook

The Snatchabook

Helen Docherty, illus. by Thomas Docherty. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4022-9082-4

What if all the bedtime books suddenly disappeared? That’s the curious nighttime incident in the snug forest animal community of Burrow Down, and it’s up to an intrepid rabbit named Eliza Brown to find the culprit. Her discovery is the adorable eponymous critter, a cross between an insect and a bat (with a leonine tail for good measure), who promptly throws himself on Eliza’s mercy: “I know it’s wrong, but can’t you see—/I’ve got no one to read to me!” Eager to make “his full amends,” the Snatchabook is welcomed into Burrow Down’s homes, and is last seen “perched happily on someone’s bed.../ listening hard to each word said.” Although the creatures are a mite too cute and the verse overly singsong, the husband-and-wife team of the Dochertys have a winner in this heartwarming tribute to the essential role of bedtime reading in the lives of families. Thomas Docherty’s watercolor cartoons are quite splendid, especially for the impressive use of lapis blue to set the nocturnal scenes. Ages 3–6. (Oct.)