It makes me happy whenever I think about how there were so many brilliant books that I discovered for the first time when I worked at The Flying Dragon Bookshop. Goodnight Mr. Tom, Millions and Framed, How I Live Now, Clementine, Bark George… I could fill a post with only the titles. I love that if I close my eyes, I can picture where those books lived in the store and remember going over to the shelves to pull out just the right one to share with a customer. I hope I am able to conjure the store in my mind for my whole life.
The reason I mention this, is that I was thinking about the store today as I was remembering one of my favourite “Flying Dragon Finds”: Cynthia Rylant’s Mr. Putter and Tabby series. Talk about perfect early readers. What makes a perfect early reader? For me, it’s memorable characters, gentle humour, dynamite illustrations that enrich the narrative world beyond the words, and text that manages to still be cleverly crafted and lovely to read even though there aren’t as many words on the page. Cece Bell’s new reader, Rabbit & Robot: The Sleepover has all of these qualities, which means I’ve got my fingers crossed that there will be more installments featuring these two quirky buddies.
When Robot comes over to Rabbit’s place for a sleepover, Rabbit has a To Do List prepared for his visit:
3.Play Go Fish
4.Go to bed
When Robot suggests shaking things up a little with a game of Old Maid or Crazy Eights, Rabbit is not into it. He is determined that they will stick to the list. When Robot doesn’t want to have the kind of pizza Rabbit planned, Rabbit freaks out. You can see where this is going. The push-pull, give-take of this strange friendship makes for hilarious scenarios that kids are sure to love. The little book is packed with dialogue, which brings the characters’ contrasting personalities vividly to life. Bell’s bold illustrations capture the warmth at the heart of this wacky little relationship. A sweet tribute to the way that the best friendships can stretch us and bring us new experiences and plenty of laughter along the way, Rabbit & Robot is delightful from beginning to end.
Rabbit & Robot: The Sleepover is published by Candlewick.