cover image My Backpack

My Backpack

Eve Bunting. Boyds Mills Press, $16.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-1-56397-433-5

Call this an accumulative tale: a bespectacled boy gets a backpack from Grandma and proceeds to fill it up with just about everything in the house. When his frantic family finally discovers what he's done, the chastened child is comforted by getting to ride in the backpack himself. Bunting's rhyming text manages to have both a bouncy beat and an authentically colloquial voice. She also shows a keen understanding of how everyday objects--especially those that belong to other people--fascinate very young children. ""I like this television thing,"" says the boy, eyeing the remote control, ""You push it and it makes a ping./ Cartoons come on and sometimes news./ I think I'll take my mother's shoes."" Cocca-Leffler (previously paired with Bunting for I Don't Want to Go to Camp) extends the buoyant mood of the story with cheery illustrations. Jazzy borders, a frisky sense of composition, clean lines and bright colors, along with skillfully deployed white space, give her pictures a strong graphic quality. Like Bunting, Cocca-Leffler is adroit at capturing the comic realities of family life--children should get a particular kick out of seeing Dad peering under an armchair for his missing reading glasses, his derriere in the air. Ages 4-8. (May)