NO BUNNIES HERE!

Welcome to Bunnyville, land of a thousand (and no) bunnies!

With the Hoppy Day Parade fast approaching, all is well in Bunnyville—until a lone wolf with a hungry look approaches. Desperate not to become lupine lunch, a particularly plucky bunny devises increasingly zany means of convincing Wolf that there are, in fact, no bunnies to be found anywhere, such as by dressing up as a unicorn, popping a lampshade onto another bunny, and pretending another bunny is a puppy. The mission is consistently complicated by the myriad bunnies who hop, pop, and parade into view. Wolf, amusingly, is a creature of few words and is neither fooled nor deterred. Wolf really, really wants to find a bunny—but not for the reasons anyone, least of all the protagonist bunny, suspects. With each new bunny comes a fresh laugh, bolstered by Burach's delightfully expressive characters and bright, busy page layouts. Sauer's text is sparse but energetic; the lead bunny narrates with all the bumbling charm of an overeager salesperson, the loquaciousness playing hilariously off Wolf's pointed gestures, reproachful eyebrows, and glum charts. As humorous as the story is, it's made ultimately poignant with the age-old message to never judge a book by its cover lest one drive off an unlikely friend. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Bun-dles of fun. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-18135-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

I AM ENOUGH

A feel-good book about self-acceptance.

Empire star Byers and Bobo offer a beautifully illustrated, rhyming picture book detailing what one brown-skinned little girl with an impressive Afro appreciates about herself. Relying on similes, the text establishes a pattern with the opening sentence, “Like the sun, I’m here to shine,” and follows it through most of the book. Some of them work well, while others fall flat: “Like the rain, I’m here to pour / and drip and fall until I’m full.” In some vignettes she’s by herself; and in others, pictured along with children of other races. While the book’s pro-diversity message comes through, the didactic and even prideful expressions of self-acceptance make the book exasperatingly preachy—a common pitfall for books by celebrity authors. In contrast, Bobo’s illustrations are visually stunning. After painting the children and the objects with which they interact, such as flowers, books, and a red wagon, in acrylic on board for a traditional look, she scanned the images into Adobe Photoshop and added the backgrounds digitally in chalk. This lends a whimsical feel to such details as a rainbow, a window, wind, and rain—all reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon. Bobo creates an inclusive world of girls in which wearing glasses, using a wheelchair, wearing a head scarf, and having a big Afro are unconditionally accepted rather than markers for othering.

A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-266712-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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Hee haw.

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THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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