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Blue Rabbit
by Angela McAllister, illustrated by Jason Cockcroft
Blue Rabbit loves his Boy and sleeps with him every night in the big bed. But one day, Boy disappears and none of the toys can find him. As more days go by, Blue Rabbit grieves for his lost friend until, suddenly, Boy is back from his holidays and all is well. This clever twist on the lost toy scenario works well and the text combines beautifully with the soft, gentle illustrations.
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Who Will Sing My Puff-a-bye?
by Charlotte Hudson, illustrated by Mary McQuillan
(Bodley Head)
When Mum (dragon) has a new job as a firelighter, young Crossfire is anxious: who will cook his breakfast pancakes or play ‘I Fry’ on the way to school. The prospect of having someone else look after him is rather scary, but he soon discovers that, although Smokescreen the childminder doesn’t do things just like Mummy, life can still be lots of fun. And of course, true to her word, Mummy is still always home for that special bedtime ‘Puff-a-bye’.
   Told with a gentle humour, this is a reassuring story for young children new to the experience of having a childminder. Equally humorous are the bulbous, scratchy characters depicted in the bold illustrations.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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My Mum Goes to Work
by Kes Gray, illustrated by David Milgrim
(Hodder Children’s Books)
A very funny first person narrative given by a small boy and telling how, although his mum goes to work, she’d rather be playing games with him, pushing him on the swing, painting pictures, cuddling and many other things. How does he know this? - Because when she comes home, she does all those things to such an extent that our young narrator ‘can’t wait for her to go back to work!’
   The straightforward text and cartoon style illustrations with their button-nosed characters, effectively executed in limited colour, make for a reassuring story on an important topic
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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In a Little While
by Charlotte Hudson, illustrated by Mary McQuillan
(Bodley Head) 0 370 32656 3
The author and artist of this picture book have chosen a comfortably distant setting for their story of a small child’s experiences when his mother is hospitalised: a North American landscape inhabited by bears, racoons and beavers.
Wobbily Fang’s Mummy isn’t there when he comes down to breakfast one morning: he’s very worried and even more so when Daddy says she’s not very well and has gone away for a little while. Daddy takes him to visit her in a strange place full of beds, far away from the forest; and when he finds her she looks ‘small and lost and alone.’ Over the next few days Wobbily Fang thinks of ways to make his Mummy feel at home. He enlists the help of members of the wolf choir who make the ward resonate with sounds of forest folk songs and paints her a picture of her favourite mountain view, but still, that ‘little while’, seems endless.
Right from the endpapers wherein readers and listeners can trace Wobbily’s journey to the hospital, and note the differences between the beginning and ending of the tale, this book is a delight. Stylised landscapes with triangular mountains, dovelike snow clouds and lollipop and arrow shaped trees, inhabited by friendly native fauna, ‘back-woods’ interior scenes with reassuring touches of domestic detail, and deliberately low-key telling combine to create a safe space within which to explore the feelings of being scared, uncertainty, loneliness and concern.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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