Like real-life rabbits, Brigitte Weninger's brood of Davy stories is expanding. What's the Matter, Davy? is the latest of these endearing stories in which a young rabbit undergoes the everyday trials that reflect the real concerns of his readership. Previous volumes What Have You Done, Davy?, Where Have You Gone, Davy?, and Will You Mind the Baby, Davy? all address issues familiar to young children in a sensitive and reassuring light. The soft, colorful illustrations are themselves noteworthy, evoking the mood of the unfolding drama.
Davy's family consists of Mother and Father Rabbit, siblings Dan, Donny, Daisy, and baby Dinah, and, central to this particular tale, Nicky. Nicky is not a "real" picture book rabbit; he is a doll. Nicky belongs to Davy, and Davy's heart obviously belongs to Nicky. They are inseparable companions: they eat, sleep, and play together constantly. It is no wonder then, when Nicky mysteriously disappears, Davy is devastated. Here, Davy's family behaves in the most exemplary, supportive manner. No one laughs at Davy's distress, or belittles his deep feelings for a stuffed doll, or even suggests a stiff upper lip. Instead, Davy's sister offers him the loan of her own favorite toy; his mother, in the middle of the night, holds a sobbing Davy until his tears have dried; and the whole family goes on a hunt in the morning.
Eventually, all ends well for Davy, Nicky, and even the new doll rabbit supplied by Davy's mother. If only every lost toy story ended so happily in real life. But perhaps the important part of this story is not the happy ending, but the happy circumstances of a loving and supportive family. Davy's family takes the time to be sensitive to one another and establish true, caring feelings, and mutual trust. That they do it so consistently contributes to the reasons this book is considered a work of fiction, but they can certainly serve as a model for us all.
What's next, Davy?