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Friday, July 20, 2012

Squish Rabbit, written and illustrated by Katherine Battersby. Viking, Penguin. 2011. $15.00 ages 2 and up

"No one noticed Squish,
or listened to his stories.

Being little was lonely.
So Squish made a friend.

It worked for a while.

But pretend friends
can only do so much."

This book is all about a beautiful blend of text and art. Together they create a memorable story. It is a fine debut for this Australian author.

"Squish was just a little rabbit."

In fact, he's so little that he is barely noticeable. He is rarely seen or heard, and he's lonely. Who can't relate to that feeling? Tales of longing for friendship are not unusual; it is always lovely to see a fresh, new take on the difficulties faced.

When the homemade bunny doesn't solve his 'lonely', Squish tries something new. He thinks he will find a friend in the trees that are nearby. It doesn't work either. As all youngsters are wont to do when they don't get their way, or things don't work out as they had planned, Squish throws a rousing tantrum. He has no idea that someone is watching. When he sends an apple flying, the young and joyous witness anticipates a game afoot. Chasing the apple, he is unaware of the danger he is facing.

Squish is frightened by the expected outcome of the race toward the cliff edge, and cries a warning. The squirrel stops, and finds his way back to his new friend!

This is a story that will hold strong appeal for those who share it. The text is easy to read, straightforward and written without a single unnecessary word. The artwork is collage, and shares the simplicity of the story. Squish appeals from our first glimpse of him, floating through air while grasping the string of a red balloon. All expression is shown in his eyes, and his actions. Using mixed media ensures that we get a textual feel for each and every image. It's so makes sharing it an event!

Now you can join me as I anticipate the release of his second tale, Brave Squish Rabbit, set for release in the fall.

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