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About The Book

Two simple words—rutabaga and boo—tell a clever, playful, and heartfelt story celebrating the special bond between a mother and her son.

Mom isn’t always nearby…but she’s never too far away.

Through their “Marco Polo”–inspired back-and-forth of “Rutabaga?” and “Boo!,” a mother and son spend a day full of fun. Whether they’re bouncing out of bed, playing in the park, or keeping in touch while Mom is on a trip, one constant is the comforting reassurance that even when they’re physically apart, they’re always connected by the love they share.

About The Author

Photograph by Brooklyn Quallen

Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen has written many picture books including Chicks Run Wild, illustrated by Ward Jenkins; Tightrope Poppy, The High-Wire Pig, illustrated by Sarah Dillard; Duck, Duck, Moose!, illustrated by Noah Z. Jones; and Rutabaga Boo!, illustrated by Bonnie Adamson. She lives in New Jersey with her three children. Learn more about Sudipta and her books at

About The Illustrator

Photograph courtesy of the illustrator

Bonnie Adamson began creating books at a very early age, out of folded tablet paper stitched along the spine with needle and thread by her grandmother. After a short career as a magazine editor, and a longer career as a graphic designer, Bonnie returned happily to writing and illustrating for children. She and her husband live in South Carolina with two grown daughters and assorted granddogs close by. Visit her at

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (March 14, 2017)
  • Length: 32 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781481424622
  • Grades: P - 3
  • Ages: 4 - 8

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Raves and Reviews

"Whenever Bardhan-Quallen’s young protagonist says “Rutabaga” to his mother, she responds with “Boo!” It’s a multipurpose call-and-response game that can be a wake-up call, greeting, or backdrop to a game of hide-and-seek. But primarily it serves to ameliorate the boy’s separation anxieties...a lovely tribute to the power of a silly shared catchphrase and the enormous reassurance that routine and ritual offer children.... Lined in gracefully sketched pencil, Adamson’s (Bedtime Monster) soft, sunny watercolors have a striking acuity—readers will know exactly how the boy feels when there’s a lag time before he hears “Boo.”"

– Publishers Weekly, January 2017

"Primarily using a simple two-word exchange throughout, this depicts the special relationship of a little boy and his mother.... Watercolor-and-pencil illustrations, rife with childlike touches, feature settings and activities that will be familiar to many children...the mother and son's mutual affection is evident throughout, and adults and children will appreciate the concept and comforts of sharing a unique language and routine."

– Booklist, February 2017

*STARRED REVIEW* "A mother and son's call-and-response tradition keeps them linked even when they aren't together. It's the illustrations that do the heavy lifting in this tale since the text consists of the two titular words and a final "I always love you" at bedtime, but those pictures speak volumes.... Adamson's watercolor-and-pencil illustrations celebrate the bond between mother and child, and she doesn't dwell on the separation, showing that the boy can still have fun even though the two are apart.... A joyous celebration of a wonderful bond."

– Kirkus Reviews, March 2017, starred review

Resources and Downloads

High Resolution Images

More books from this author: Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen