Bubba and Beau loved to go bye-bye.
When I was a nanny for two years on the West Coast, this was "my" preschooler's favorite nighttime book. We read this at least twice a day for nearly five months during its height of popularity. It's the perfect read-aloud--you find yourself slowing your narration so that you can focus on the illustrations' details, but you also find your voice falling into a light southern accent, further drawing out the story.
Bubba is an adorable little baby, and Beau is his puppy companion. They go everywhere together, so when Mama Pearl waves goodbye from the front porch, they head off to town, buckled into their matching car seats in the pickup truck. They stop at the Feed & Seed, then the Post Office, pick out a watermelon at the farmstand and finally, Big Bubba rewards everyone with raspberry swirl ice cream cones. Later that night when everyone's ready for bed except the smallest two, Big Bubba again buckles them into the truck for a reprise of the day's adventures. By the time they drive past the Freezee Deluxe, Bubba and Beau are fast asleep.
The details are the best: the dice hanging in the truck, Claudine's glossy acrylic nails, Mama Pearl's pink fuzzy slippers, and Big Bubba's expressions of love and amusement when he looks at his son.
A possible caveat of this book was brought to my attention last night. A friend of a friend read it, and his only comment was, "Are they serious?" He felt that it was derogatory of those from the South, a thought had never crossed my mind. Every detail seems to delicately show that the book is set south of the Mason-Dixon Line, from the Cola sign at the Feed & Seed to the giant cowboy hats to the star of Texas on the truck bumper. The narrative slips in exclamations of "sister," as in "Sister, those napkins came in handy!" Let the reader make his/her own choice. It will always be close to my heart.