Angela McAllister, , illus. by Jason Cockcroft. . Bloomsbury, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-58234-834-6

A familiar picture book theme (a child misplaces a beloved stuffed animal) gets a twist here: a stuffed animal loses its human owner. McAllister (Barkus) describes Little Blue Rabbit's love for his owner ("Boy was soft and warm and stuffed with love, and each night they fell asleep together"), Boy's disappearance, Blue Rabbit's grief ("Blue Rabbit felt empty inside, as if all his stuffing had been pulled out") and their joyful reunion. Unfortunately, the narrative does little to establish the relationship between Blue Rabbit and Boy, and most of the book focuses on the rabbit and other stuffed animals' search for the child. Cockcroft's (Billywise) expertly drafted pastels twinkle with ever-present orange and blue spangles; Blue Rabbit, Boy and their nursery seem to be perpetually covered with fairy dust. But Blue Rabbit's glass eyes cannot express emotion, and views of various rooms in the house filled with inanimate toys may lose readers' interest, no matter how polished the compositions. When Boy reappears, he's "turned a rusty brown color and his clothes had all shrunk." Has he been gone long enough to grow a full size larger? Why would he leave his favorite toy behind? Readers never find out. Ages 3-7. (June)