cover image Babbit


Lydia Monks. Egmont UK (IPG/Trafalgar Sq., dist.), $8.99 paper (32p) ISBN 978-1-4052-5423-6

Babbit, a blue stuffed rabbit, is snatched from under the noses of his picnicking owners by a gang of four diminutive, scary-cute villains. A witch with a pointy hat, a pink bear, a crocodile, and a dragon quarrel over their prize. “I’m having his little fluffy tail,” says the Witchy One, after they’ve tied Babbit to a tree. “You can have his ears,” she tells the bear. It could be frightening, but Babbit himself narrates, so his fate is not in doubt. He is promptly rescued by his owner, the Little One, and her sister, the Big One, and the miscreants are banished to “the naughty seats.” It’s a fast-moving chase story, but there’s also a message about mastering fear. “Don’t panic,” Babbit tells himself, and he never does. Childlike drawings, a muted palette, and matte paper with faux faded edges all signal make-believe, while Monks’s (What the Ladybug Heard) stiff figures move like dolls and the action unfolds like a Punch and Judy show. Kids will particularly enjoy Babbit’s bossy tone: “That’s what happens when you don’t play nicely,” he sniffs. Ages 3–5. (Feb.)