Any collaborative effort by the esteemed Charlotte Zolotow and the illustrious Maurice Sendak is bound to be a success. These beloved creators of countless children's favorites outdo themselves with this 1963 Caldecott Honor-winning classic about a little girl in need of assistance. Finding a birthday present for her mother is no easy task for our heroine. Luckily, she happens upon the avuncular Mr. Rabbit, whose heart is in the right place, even if he doesn't always have the best ideas. Ultimately, his suggestions do come in handy, and between the two of them they determine the ideal birthday tribute: the gift of color. Children will join the protagonists in contemplating how to make the abstract tangible, and all readers will be delighted to see yellow translate to bananas, as green is given in pears, and blue takes the shape of grapes.
The soft, muted colors of Sendak's illustrations are reminiscent of a Monet landscape--utterly appealing and dreamy. And the reflective, sing-song dialogue between Mr. Rabbit and the girl is as deliciously lulling as a shady swing in a hammock. This quiet, peaceful book is a treasure for any shelf. (Ages 4 to 8)