cover image Will You Take Care of Me?

Will You Take Care of Me?

Margaret Park Bridges. HarperCollins, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-688-15194-2

In the tradition of Margaret Wise Brown's The Runaway Bunny (and the myriad other titles in a crowded category) comes this sweet if derivative picture book debut about a mother's enduring love. This time out it's a mother kangaroo who reassures her joey that she will love him (or her--the gender is indeterminate) and take care of him no matter how old he gets or how he changes. ""What if I turned into a field of flowers?"" he asks while passing such a field on the way home. ""I'd breathe in the wonderful smell of you,"" she answers. The game continues as the pair progresses through the child's bedtime routine: ""What if I became a bar of soap?/ I'd hold you tight so you wouldn't slip away."" The phrasing has a gentle read-aloud rhythm and the sentiment expressed is timeless and universal, but both adults and children will feel they've heard this comforting text before. Sweet's (Fiddle-I-Fee: A Farmyard Song) cozy multimedia and watercolor illustrations, awash in springy greens, yellows and blues, energize this outing. Some of the compositions are very childlike, others appear to incorporate thread embroidered on paper, still others use collage. What the text lacks in originality can be found in the art. Ages 2-up. (Aug.)