Book review: Bunny In The Middle,by Anika Aldamuy Denise, illustrated by Christopher Denise

Denise, Anika Aldamuy. Bunny In The Middle. Illustrated by Christopher Denise. Henry Holt and Company, 2019. $17.99. ISBN 9781250120366. Ages 3-9. P8 Q9

Being in the middle isn’t so bad. A lovable story following a sweet little bunny family and the bunny in the middle. An inspiring and uplifting story for any child deemed the “middle child”. This book shows all the positives to being the child in the middle. Helping your siblings, problem solving and exploring are just a few of the things you can accomplish being the bunny in the middle.  Empowering for all children. Beautiful colorful illustrations full of detail and character help you feel like you are in the book itself.

Verdict: A must have for any library. Teaches self confidence, love and working together.  Illustrations are so full of detail you never get tired of admiring them.

November 2019 review by Melissa Roberts.

Book review: Bunny Built, by Michael Slack

Slack, Michael. Bunny Built. Henry Holt, 2018. ISBN 978-1-62779-270-7. $17.99. 40 pages. Ages 2+. P8Q8

Super colorful illustrations digitally printed and collaged in Adobe Photoshop tell the story of an industrious bunny who cannot continue his work until he finds a carrot to satisfy his rumbly tummy.  On my first read through I thought the author spent far too much time on LaRue, the bunny, looking for a carrot, but by the end of the story it all comes together!  LaRue wouldn’t know how to help his friends without the backstory.  A great book based solely on the kindness of one very special bunny.

Verdict:  Cute artwork for a cuter story.  I recommend for everyone!

June 2019 review by Terri Lippert.

Book review: The Rabbit, the Dark, and the Cookie Tin, by Nicola O’Byrne

O’Byrne, Nicola. The Rabbit, the Dark, and the Cookie Tin. Nosy Crow, 2018. $15.99. ISBN 9781536205763. Unpaged. Ages 3-7. P7Q7.

This funny book is a good choice for a child who doesn’t like to go to bed at night. Rabbit sees that it’s getting dark, but really doesn’t want to go to bed. He comes up with a brilliant idea, and lures the Dark into a cookie tin using sugar, and shuts the lid. Now it won’t get dark outside, so he doesn’t have to go to bed. The Dark tries to convince Rabbit that other animals need nighttime to be happy and healthy, but Rabbit doesn’t care. Eventually, the Dark shows Rabbit how beautiful it can be, and all is well (I wish Rabbit had cooperated because it was the right thing to do.)  Through the story, we learn a little about how animals need both day and night, and carrots do too! The illustrations are very pretty, and there is a good amount of humor in the book. There is a popup page that will be easily damaged, and the binding feels a little flimsy.

VERDICT: Parents of young children will like this book. It will make a good bedtime story.

April 2019 review by Carol Schramm.

Book review: Ninja Bunny: Sister vs. Brother, by Jennifer Gray Olson

Olson, Jennifer Gray. Ninja Bunny: Sister vs. Brother. Alfred A. Knopf, 2016. $16.99. ISBN 9780399550744. Unpaged. Ages 3-7. P7Q8

Ninja Bunny is searching for the Golden Carrot of Awesomeness- he is fast enough, silent enough, and brave enough to find it. Unfortunately, his sister thinks she is too… Ninja Bunny insists that he is the only ninja, and that his sister is too little to do anything ninja-like. But, as they search for the Golden Carrot, little sister proves to her brother that she has some serious ninja skills, and isn’t too little after all. She even helps her brother out of a tough spot. I loved the illustrations- they carry across the idea of sneakiness very well.

VERDICT: Younger siblings will identify with the experience of being told they are too little to do what they want. I expect this to be a popular choice with young families at my library.

February 2019 review by Carol Schramm.

Book review: The Secret of the Wind, by Jim Pascoe, illustrated by Heidi Arnhold

Pascoe, Jim. The Secret of the Wind. Illus. by Heidi Arnhold. (Cottons trilogy, book 1). First Second, 2018. $19.99. 262p. ISBN 978-1-250-15744-7. Ages 12-15. P7Q9

With talents that even she does not understand, Bridgebelle wants to use the cha, a fuel from carrots that provides energy for the world, into magical pieces of art, but both the rabbits and the controlling foxes want to stop her. Endnotes describe Lavender—its isolated land, history, inhabitants, industry, religion, culture, and society—with the focus on the Vale of Industry. The first in a series of three graphic novels sets the scene for a dictatorial society that imprisons the workers and rejects all artistic efforts.

Verdict: Although the characters are sometimes so similar that differentiating among them can be difficult, the author and illustrator have created an amazing world demonstrating the destruction of a focus only on work and compiling wealth and the mythology surrounding them. Darkly illustrated panels evoking a strong sense of evil show the brutality of the animals who live in misery. This is a valuable addition to graphic novels, but the imprisoned life of the “cottons” can be extremely painful reading.

January 2019 review by Nel Ward.

Book review: Rabbit Magic, by Meg McLaren

McLaren, Meg. Rabbit Magic. Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016. unp. $16.99. ISBN: 978-0-544-78469-7. Gr. K+. P8 Q8

Houdini is the one rabbit who can assist with everything that Monsieur Lapin needs in his magic show. He is the one who can calm the other rabbits, he inspires them, brings them together and he is a born performer. When Houdini’s accident turns Monsieur Lapin into a rabbit, the crowd loves it and the magic act becomes famous. The acts become larger and more dangerous. The rabbits and Monsieur tire of the act and want it to change. Can Houdini turn Monsieur Lapin back into a man by reversing the spell? The digital media illustrations will have the reader laughing at  the antics of the animals in the magic act.

Verdict: This is a fun book to read aloud to younger students. If you are going to a circus this would be a good book to share with your child before going.

July 2018 review by Carol Bernardi.

Book review: A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, written by Marlon Bundo with Jill Twiss, illustrated by EG Keller

Twiss, Jill. A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo. Ill. by EG Keller. Chronicle, 2018. $18.99. unp. ISBN 978-1-4521-7380-1. Ages 4-7. P9Q9

The lonely, bored bunny who lives “in an old, stuffy house” finds his life turned around when he meets another bunny, the nerdy looking Wesley wearing a pair of blue eye glasses. As they hop all other the grounds and throughout the huge house, they decide that they never want to hop alone again. Animals friends like the idea of the two bunnies getting married, but the Stink Bug proclaims that “boy bunnies don’t marry boy bunnies!” The problem is resolved with the bunnies and their creature friends vote Stink Bug out of power so that he is no longer “In Charge,” and the book ends with a happily-ever-after scene.

Verdict: The first book from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver could have been nothing more than a parody of another book about VP Mike Pence’s pet rabbit, Marlon Bundo. Instead, this book stands on its own with a charming story, excellent artwork, and messages that everyone is different in some way, democracy gives rights, and “love is forever.” Keller (pseudonym for George Kelly) creates comedy and joy from Bundo’s bowtie and the sunlight on Wesley as well as the energy from their hopping and the relationships with bugs, turtle, and hedgehog with otters and lesbian cats taking part in the bunnies’ wedding. The book’s proceeds go to The Trevor Project and AIDS United. The audiobook version, read by Jim Parsons with special guests including John Lithgow, is available on Audible.

April/May 2018 review by Nel Ward.