Raising Bookworms: Getting Kids Reading for Pleasure and Empowerment: Emma Walton Hamilton
Children's Literacy and Reading News Roundup: Mid-December

Small Bunny's Blue Blanket: Tatyana Feeney

Book: Small Bunny's Blue Blanket
Author: Tatyana Feeney
Pages: 32 
Age Range: 1-5 

Small Bunny's Blue Blanket, by Tatyana Feeney, is a simple celebration of the importance of security blankets, suitable for the youngest of readers. Small Bunny keeps Blue Blanket with him at all times, to "help him go even higher on the swings", "to help him read the hardest words", and so on. When Mommy declares that Blue Blanket needs to be washed, Small Bunny is quite concerned. He tries to hide Blue Blanket, and he doesn't accept Mommy's declaration that Blue Blanket is "Good as new" afterwards. He doesn't like new. But after some quality playing time, he's able to get his blanket back, just the way he likes it.

The text in Small Bunny's Blue Blanket is minimal and straightforward. It could probably also work as an early reader, in fact. But it is designed to make sense to very young listeners, and I think that it works perfectly. My favorite part:

"...Mommy picked up Blue Blanket and put it into the washing machine.

"Don't worry," she said, "it will only take a minute."

It actually took 107.

And Small Bunny watched Blue Blanket for every single one."

The illustration accompanying the last two lines shows 9 panels of Small Bunny standing in front of the washer, with the elapsed minutes displayed for each picture. His ears start out drooping, but as the end approaches, they perk fight back up. 

Baby Bookworm's favorite part, on the other hand, is where Small Bunny tries to hide Blue Blanket, and Mommy says "BUNNY" in a warning tone. This is the kind of detail you can miss, just reading a book silently to yourself. But when you read it aloud, with the right emphasis, to an attentive toddler, you realize that it's spot on. 

Like the text, the illustrations are minimalist and easy to follow, small black and white sketches very lightly colored with pink and pale blue. Blue Blanket (appropriately written as a proper noun) is shown in slightly darker blue, the brightest thing on each page. Small Bunny and Mommy are basically boxes with rounded corners, dots for eyes and nose, tiny feet sticking out, squiggles to represent tails, and pink ears. I can imagine preschoolers reading this book and thinking "I could draw a book like this, too." But there's a subtlety to certain details (like the way Blue Blanket varies in size depending on the context) that suggests a much more experienced hand at work. 

Small Bunny's Blue Blanket is an excellent choice for very small children, particularly those for whom a security blanket is an essential member of the family (ours is called Bea, pronounced be-uh). This one is a Baby Bookworm favorite right now, though there is probably not enough detail to keep her attention as she gets older. Still, we may be able to recycle it as an easy reader later on, too. Recommended for home or library storytime. 

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (@RandomHouseKids)
Publication Date: June 12, 2012
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher

© 2012 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).