Cover image for Bub, or, the very best thing
Bub, or, the very best thing
Babbitt, Natalie.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Pine Plains, N.Y. : Live Oak Media, [1998]

Physical Description:
1 audiocassette : analog + 1 book.
Reading Level:
380 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.2 0.5 13400.

Reading Counts RC K-2 2.5 2 Quiz: 14199 Guided reading level: L.
Format :
Sound Cassette

Sound Recording


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Frank E. Merriweather Library CASSETTE KIT 1012 Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Frank E. Merriweather Library CASSETTE KIT 1012 Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



The King and Queen want what's best for the Prince, but what is "the one and only very best thing?" A survey of everyone in the castle leads to some interesting ideas, but none seems quite right, until the cook's daughter makes a brilliant suggestion--ask the Prince! Full color.

Author Notes

Natalie Babbitt was born Natalie Zane Moore in Dayton, Ohio on July 28, 1932. As a child, she wanted to be an illustrator. She received a bachelor's degree in fine arts from Smith College. She and her husband Sam Babbitt collaborated on a children's book The Forty-Ninth Magician, which was published in 1966.

At the urging of her husband and her editor, she decided to write her own prose. Her first book as both author and illustrator was The Search for Delicious, which was published in 1969. Her novels included Goody Hall, The Devil's Storybook, Tuck Everlasting, The Eyes of the Amaryllis, Herbert Rowbarge, and The Moon Over High Street. She wrote and illustrated several picture books including Nellie: A Cat on Her Own; Bub, or, The Very Best Thing; and Elsie Times Eight. Kneeknock Rise was named a 1971 Newbery Honor book. In 2013, she won the inaugural E. B. White Award for achievement in children's literature. Tuck Everlasting was adapted as a Disney feature film in 2002 and made its debut as a Broadway musical in 2016. She also illustrated five books for Valerie Worth. She died of lung cancer on October 31, 2016 at the age of 84.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 4-6. Bub's parents, the king and the queen, have different ideas about raising their child, so they decide to find out just what is the best thing in the universe for him. After interviewing everyone in the castle and coming up with answers as diverse as vegetables and conversations, the cook's daughter asks the little prince himself. His parents aren't quite sure what his answer--"bub"--means, but the cook's daughter is. "The Prince was right, Mama. Love is the very best thing." The story itself, heavy on message, is static, leaving the art as the part of the book most attractive to kids, but even the pictures are a bit stiff. Enlivening things is the presence of a handsome golden retriever, topped with a joker's cap, who cavorts throughout the lavish full-page pictures and the charming cameos that decorate the opposite text pages. For larger collections or libraries that want their Babbitt collections complete. ~--Ilene Cooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

Babbitt ( Tuck Everlasting ; Knee knock Rise ) has created some extraordinary children's books, and this one is no exception. It is, quite simply, Babbitt at her best. In a medieval castle, a king and queen argue a crucial question: what is the ``best thing'' for their young prince? The king insists that his wife gives the child too many toys (``If this keeps up, he'll turn out soft and silly''); she retorts that he gives him too many lessons (``If that keeps up, he'll turn out dry and dusty''). The king resorts to his books to find the answer, whereas the queen polls everyone she meets. The responses run the gamut from ``vegetables'' (the day nursemaid) to ``sunshine'' (the gardener) to ``a song'' (the court musician). But it is the cook's daughter who points the perplexed parents in the right direction, instructing them to ask the prince himself. ``Bub,'' replies the toddler, which translates into the inarguably ``very best thing'': love. This splendid story is matched by exquisite artwork, which offers a refreshingly realistic depiction of the medieval setting and featuring the royal dog (patiently sporting a court jester's cap), who is entirely devoted to the very lovable prince. All ages. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2-A unique and enlightening picture book. A king and queen are determined to identify the ``one and only very best thing'' for their son, but what can it be? The king is sure the answer will be found in books. The queen asks everyone she encounters in the palace. After receiving an array of answers from the ``experts,'' the frustrated woman asks the cook's daughter's advice. The girl suggests they ask the prince. The parents don't understand his response, but the cook's daughter (and readers) know that ``bub'' means love. The timeless message is delivered with humor and a light touch. Framed pastel paintings feature the royal family, their faithful aides, and their loyal pet, a comical dog dressed as a court jester. The canine truly adds merriment to each scene. Most children will find the story and the illustrations entertaining. Ultimately, though, it is for parents, especially those who believe the best things they can give their children come from stores. Youngest readers may miss the book's full significance, but hopefully everyone will realize the simple wisdom of the prince's words.-Heide Piehler, Shorewood Public Library, WI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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