Sew Sweet! My Blue Bunny, Bubbit by Maggie Smith
MY BUNNY'S NAME IS BUBBIT, AND HE'S ALMOST MY AGE. THAT'S BECAUSE MY GRANDMA NONNI MADE HIM FOR ME WAY BACK WHEN I WAS TEENY TINY.
HE HAS A SPECIAL ROW OF XXXS ON HIS FOOT.
But when Nonni comes to visit this time, everything is changing. She's there, not just to visit with Bubbit's owner, but because there's a new baby coming. Our girl and her stuffed buddy are not exactly on board with that project.
"WE WEREN'T SURE WE WANTED A NEW BABY.”
But Nonni is wise in the way that grandmothers are supposed to be (and some of them are), and she senses how her granddaughter feels about the big change coming. Then, when Bubbit sees the empty crib waiting for the newborn, the girl seems to hear him whispering:
"IT LOOKS LONELY IN THERE."
Nonni suggests that together they make the new baby a stuffed toy that he will love as much as Bubbit is loved. Immediately, the girl sublimates her mixed feelings in the fun of the project. She pulls out an old yellow corduroy jacket which has plenty of fabric for the body of a special elephant. In no time the two are crafting a lovable lovey for her baby brother-to-be, and when the girl finds some soft gray flannel for the ears, braids some yarn for the tail, and fashions a bow for it, she's well on her way to becoming a loving big sister, so much so that she is the one who remembers to stitch the three XXXs for kisses to the bottom of one foot.
Maggie Smith's new My Blue Bunny, Bubbit (Houghton Mifflin Clarion, 2014) shows a sew-smart grandmother, crafty in more ways than one, whose skills create a bond between her, her granddaughter, and her new grandson which will resonate with young readers, even those who have no burning interest in needlework. Building family traditions that live on with siblings into adulthood and even succeeding generations is good thing, and Smith's clever multi-media illustrations (gouache, pencil, and digital, with fabric scrap collage) add sew-much charm to this sew-sweet story.