I do love me the cute little bunnies. Peter McCarty has a knack for drawing them and drawing the reader into their lives. Maybe because I am a middle child (though not in a family of 21 children!), I identify with Chloe. I also really like bubble wrap and spending time with my own family. So, it’s no wonder I smiled all the way through this not-so-subtle tale of how family life can be changed (and not in a good way) by technology. This time, it’s TV that threatens family fun time, not computers, but we all get the point.
Chloe, in her flowered pink dress, is in the middle of these illustrations too. Whether in the middle of a swirling circle of siblings on the “Chloe was in the middle” or at the dinner table, McCarty lets the young reader know where Chloe is at all moments. Eye movements, subtle and droll, telescope her feelings as do her little hot dog arms crossed in consternation as she protests her family’s love of the electronic intruder, or her hands-on-hips stance when she discovers just how much fun it can be to play with bubble wrap.
McCarty uses color and fashion details (glasses, a hoodie, a football shirt) to delineate each little rabbit child and show how each is tied to Chloe and one another. His ability to linger over the million and three leaves on the endpages, individual flecks of fur, and even the inside of the TV box is an amazing contrast to the white space of many of the spreads. His sense of humor, from bubble wrap to an azure pound cake attacking a city, adds to the fun.
Chloe’s family makes me (and young readers, I hope) feel comforted and secure. Seeing the dad popping bubble wrap on the final spread just made me smile with all those memories of when my own father would surprise us by acting goofy.
Is there enough to this gentle book for a committee to honor? What do you think?