Sleep, My Bunny

illus. by Rosemary Wells. 24p. Candlewick. Nov. 2018. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9780763692629.
PreS–Bunny parents prepare their little one for bed. Four lines of large text enclosed in a square on white ground describe night noises outside. Birds and insects sing their evening songs, the moon moves across the sky, and gentle summer rain "as soft as/ a feather" patters against the window. A scene depicting each parent's participation in the bedtime ritual appears opposite each page of text. Mother serves dinner, helps her bunny gather bath supplies and pajamas, and reads him a story. The alternating pages show father helping his son put away toys, bathe, and play a gentle evening song on his violin. Wells's illustrations are rendered in mixed media and Roche pastels on sanded paper. In a striking spread across the copyright and title pages, Impressionistic strokes of color capture the sky as evening begins to descend amid the brilliant yellows and oranges of the setting sun. A cozy house stands in a grassy field, light shining from a single window on the ground floor. The different colored strokes that appear on each page of text are echoed in the frames around the words and behind the window that appears in each scene. The facial expressions on Wells's familiar bunnies demonstrate parental love enjoyed by their contented offspring.
VERDICT This gentle lullabylike offering in which nothing is "scary" or "loud" is the perfect choice for a quiet one-on-one read with little ones before bed.

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