You're Just What I Need by Ruth Krauss pictures by Julia Noonan ReviewYou're Just What I Need
by Ruth Krauss pictures by Julia Noonan
HarperCollins, March 1998.
Hardcover, 29 pages.
One of my favorite and earliest childhood memories is snuggling as close to my mother as I possibly could in her rocker while she read to me. We rocked and read and rocked and read for what seemed like forever sometimes, but it was never long enough. We didn't call it bonding back in the early fifties, but it surely was just that. Ruth Krauss's books were often part of my mother's repertoire. In fact, I still possess a very tattered copy of A Hole Is To Dig. This reissue of You're Just What I Need (The Bundle Book) is a perfect example of both Krauss's enduring charm and the special bond between mother and child. Julia Noonan's luminous pastel illustrations bring new life to this classic about a mother and her baby playing hide-and-seek. One can just hear that special belly laugh toddlers get when they're having the time of their lives. The darling blue chenille blanket that's hiding the baby wriggles every time the mother can't guess what the bundle is that's in the middle of her bed revealing tiny toes or a lock of hair. There is a very huggable looking plush doggie in every scene that acts out the amusing imaginary picture of the mother's guesses. He's in the laundry basket or dressed as the bunny with the bundle of carrots or suited up as an aviator flying on the back of the bird. We're also shown real pictures of all the guesses like carrots or a monkey (the cutest monkey I believe I've ever seen in a children's book) or a bird. The child being read to has a dual level of visual stimulation that can serve as a cue for extra conversation and guessing as you read to him/her.
Children this age love repetitive refrains and those are provided as the mother makes her many guesses of just what is in the bundle, and the hidden child answers with a no for each wrong guess. At the end there is a parade of all the wrong guesses, the bird, the laundry, the monkey, etc. just before the baby with sparkling blue eyes, curly auburn hair, and baby pearl teeth pops out from under the blanket to surprise the mom. The last illustration is of the mother and baby exchanging a tender kiss and hug while the mother says, You're just what I need, something all children want to hear. This book would make a great Mother's Day present whether to a new mom or one whose baby has babies of her own. It's beautiful, touching, comforting and nostalgic. (By the way, if you do want to give it as a gift there is a matching card included at the back of the book.)
- Nancy Littlejohn
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