Shortly after posting yesterday's review of Polly Horvath's Mr. and Mrs. Bunny - Detectives Extraordinaire, I realized that I had completely neglected to mention Sophie Blackall's delightful illustrations that accompany the text. Children's chapter books can be "made or not" by the presence or lack of quality illustrations.
Unlike picture books, chapter books don't NEED the artwork, but it adds a dimension of enjoyment and wonderment. I found myself hoping that the next screen (I read this on my NOOKcolor) would be another black line drawing by Blackall. At one point in the story, Mr. Bunny needs to drive a car for the first time, but he cannot reach the pedals. Mrs. Bunny supplies him with a pair of purple platform shoes, a remnant from one of her long ago shopping sprees. Blackall's drawing of Mr. Bunny towering above his wife delivers just the right amount of humor and absurdity. Readers clearly recognize the pride on his face, resulting from his new "elevated status," but we also recognize the silliness of such pride, since Mr. Bunny's height is nothing when compared to that of the human child Madeline who almost fills the whole page with her bigness.
If Horvath decides to spin another Bunny detective tale, I hope it involves a partnership with Blackall because Sophie's vision of the characters will always be mine.
Delight a child - read a book with him or her!