Sleep, My Bunny by Rosemary Wells. unpgd. Candlewick Press, November 13, 2018. 9780763692629. (Review of finished copy courtesy of publisher.)
Bedtime rituals for children are so important. They should be started really early and should always, always include reading. So it should come as no surprise that there are tons of "good night" books to choose from in any library or bookstore. A number feature bunnies. Not surprising, really. Bunnies are quintessentially cuddly.
I discovered Rosemary Wells thirty-two and a half years ago when my own Max was born and we received a set of Max the Bunny board books along with a Max stuffy. The board books and Max doll are packed away but they are remembered fondly. Several of them have some toddler teeth marks on the corners. We also bought other Max and Ruby picture books over the years and Shy Charles was beloved as well. Others were borrowed from the public library. Wells has written over 120 books for children. There really is something for everyone in her impressive body of work.
Somehow, we missed Sleep, My Bunny, which was originally published in 1979 as "Good Night, Sweet Prince" in Don't Spill It Again, James. Candlewick Press is releasing Sleep, My Bunny as its own picture book on November 13.
The art, while still cartoonish, is softer and, opens with an impressionistic painting of a tree and a snug little house at sunset. The scene is evocative of Van Gogh with its rich points of colors. The text is framed by solid green and surrounded by a variety of stippled colorful backgrounds that are mirrored in the window of each illustration.
Each illustration features a moment in a small bunny family starting at dinner with mother pouring some milk. Father helps baby bunny clean up the toys. Mother gets him ready for a bath. Father sits at the side of the tub and talks. Mother reads and Father plays his violin. It's delightful that both parents participate. The text is spare and soothing and invites snuggling and snoozing. Sleep, My Bunny would be a perfect gift for new and expectant parents. It is also a perfect way to continue celebrating Picture Book Month!
Candlewick Press generously provided me with an extra copy and a signed poster to offer in a giveaway! To enter, please leave a comment and include your email address. I will be tweeting the review as well. If you're on Twitter, retweet and I will add your name again. I'm @kahnbrenda. (Yeah, I know. I had proseandkahn when Twitter first started but deactivated the account. Now, it's taken.)
I will choose a winner on its book birthday, November 13.