Review of Buster and the Baby

Buster and the Baby
by Amy Hest; illus. by Polly Dunbar
Preschool    Candlewick    32 pp.    g
12/17    978-0-7636-8787-8    $15.99

In a rhythmic text and lively art, a classic friendship story plays out through an extended game of hide-and-seek between a baby and a small white dog named Buster. Buster carefully determines the best hiding places in the house — under the table, behind the chair, etc. “He waits. And watches. And waits some more. THUMP, goes his heart. THUMP, THUMP, THUMP! Then…” The baby, whom viewers have been watching skillfully make her way toward Buster’s hiding places through spreads and panel art, springs at Buster and creates all sorts of chaos as Buster scrambles to his next hiding spot. Digitally rendered crayon and paint illustrations contrast soft pastel colors with high-energy line work. Buster and the baby are delightfully expressive throughout this thrilling game of chase, and the nuances of anticipation and joyfulness emerge naturally on their faces and in their movements. At night, when Baby is tucked in bed, she hides beneath her blanket and takes on Buster’s daytime role: “She waits. And watches. And waits some more. THUMP! Goes her heart. THUMP! THUMP! THUMP! Then…” Buster does not disappoint her (or us), and after he gives her a thorough face-licking, the two cuddle up for the night in a heart-melting final scene.

From the January/February 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.
Julie Roach
Julie Roach

Julie Roach, chair of the 2020 Caldecott Committee, manages youth services at the Cambridge Public Library in Massachusetts. She also teaches children’s literature at Simmons University’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science and at Lesley University.

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