Polly and the New Baby by Rachel Quarry

Polly and the New Baby

A simple story that’s perfect for children who have, or are about to have, a new brother or sister.

Bunny is Polly’s best friend but no one else can see him. Polly takes Bunny everywhere in the pushchair that used to be hers when she was a tiny baby. Mum, Dad and Gran all try to persuade Polly that Bunny doesn’t need the pushchair but she is adamant that he does. They try suggesting alternatives but Polly dismisses all of them. The doll’s pram is too small, the special carrier is too tight, and Bunny falls out the wobbly trailer that Mum fixes to Polly’s trike. The situation is becoming quite desperate as Mum is heavily pregnant and they’re going to need the pushchair for the new baby. Luckily, Polly finds a solution just in time.

This is a simple story that will appeal to children who have any experience of an ‘imaginary friend’. Parents, in contrast, are more likely to equate with the adults in the story and their ongoing attempts to wean Polly away for use of her pushchair for the invisible bunny. Their mounting concern and frustration is subtly portrayed in both the text and pictures whilst being clear enough for even young children to understand.

The pictures are produced in a naïve style using collage and a muted colour palette. This makes them quite different to the modern trend for intense and vibrant colours. However, it works well with the tone of the story and gives the book a timeless and nostalgic quality. I particularly liked the illustrations of the ‘invisible’ bunny – he’s shown as a simple outline in red, allowing us to see the rest of the picture through his body. I was also impressed by the amount of expression in all the character’s faces despite the simple style. And, finally, by the number of cats and other animals that have snuck into the pictures.

If you enjoyed this and are looking for a similar story for those at the younger end of the picture book market, you might like Ollie’s Magic Bunny by Nicola Killen: a simple but delightful story about another imaginary bunny (this one a toy coming to life rather than an invisible friend). Alternatively, why not try Rosie is my Best Friend by Ali Pye.

ISBN: 978-0192769046
Date: August 2019
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Pages: 32
4-star-book-review-rating

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