Coming Out in the Wash: Small Bunny's Blue Blanket by Tatyana Feeney
SMALL BUNNY LOVES BLUE BLANKET.
EVERYTHING HE DID, SMALL BUNNY DID WITH BLUE BLANKET.
With Blue Blanket with him, Small Bunny swings higher, reads bigger words, and paints better paintings. Blue Blanket feels and looks and smells just right.
But Mommy Bunny thinks Blue Blanket is getting a bit grotty. He's getting grimy and even smelly. One afternoon she makes a distubing declaration.
"YOU BOTH NEED A BATH!"
Small Bunny is sure that Mommy Bunny can't improve upon perfection, and he is dubious when she promises that it'll only be a "minute."
ACTUALLY, IT TOOK 107.
Small Bunny sits and watches every swish of the washer ordeal, as his beloved blankie twists and whirls in the soapy water.
And that was just the wash cycle.
Mommy Bunny whisks Blue Blanket outside to dry on the line in the gentle breeze and warm sunshine, while Small Bunny keeps the vigil. At last Mommy whips his blue buddy off the line and gives it to him.
"GOOD AS NEW!" SHE SAID.
No way, thinks Small Bunny. Blue Blanket doesn't feel right and he doesn't smell right! It's going to take a lot of seasoning before Small Bunny gets that blankie back to where he wants him, but lots of swinging and painting and reading, and hugging is the way to restore Blue Blanket back to perfection.
"PERFECT!" THINKS SMALL BUNNY.
And perfect is the way this picture book comes out as well, a faultless melding of design, art, and language where each element contributes equally to the whole. In Feeney's art, Blue Blanket is a diaphanous and amorphous bit of tissue paper collage, its shape always conforming to its current use, but despite that, Blue Blanket is the heavyweight of this story. Bunny and his world are portrayed in simple, childlike drawings, himself accented minimally with pale pink ears and an equally pale pink scribble of a fluffy tail, done in a pale blue-grey line. The terse but effective text is done up in simple blue lettering against a white background. Out of these spare elements a funny and insightful tale is told. Tatyana Feeney's just published Small Bunny's Blue Blanket (Alfred A. Knopf, 2012) takes a popular childhood phenomenon, blankie addiction, and turns it into a universal story of human nature. "A fine dramatization of the classic childhood blanket drama, and a noteworthy debut," puts in Publishers Weekly.
Pair this one with Bubba and Beau, Best Friends, by the award-winning Kathy Appelt and Arthur Howard, and Kim Lewis' Hooray For Harry for a bodacious bunch of blankie-washing tales.