Gustav Is Missing!: A Tale of Friendship and Bravery is not necessarily the best book I have read, or the funniest, or even the most unique of messages; but it is all those things and more.
Andrea Zuill created a picture book about a small mushroom, Little Cap, and his pet slug, Gustav, that was funny (when Gustav is unfortunately surprised, he falls spread eagle on the ground; there is an adorable pouty mushroom towards the end; when Little Cap thinks Gustav might be attacked by a ferocious beast a shadow of a bunny is projected; Little Cap steps in something really gross). It has fun colors (there are a rainbow worth of colors for the slugs near the end of the book). And it is a nice message of being brave when you might not be the bravest person. And the details are not too busy, but not on the light side either. There is a nice balance between the two.
The story is simple, Little Cap enjoys staying in his cozy home with Gustav as the world is scary. But the gate is left open one day and Gustav escapes and it is up to Little Cap to find him. He has many adventures, talks to his neighbors (who are actually very nice though cannot help him) and in the end, Little Cap learns that yes, the world is big and scary, but sometimes surprises are nice, friends are good, and sharing quiet time also works. And occasionally, someone will leave the front gate open.
This is a cozy book. All ages can enjoy, with the adults can appreciate the classic tone and feeling, while kids of all ages can appreciate the adventures and fun our characters have.