Review: Mr. and Mrs. Bunny–Detectives Extraordinaire by Polly Horvath

mr and mrs bunny detectives

Mr. and Mrs. Bunny – Detectives Extraordinaire! by Polly Horvath

Madeline has always taken care of her parents rather than the other way around.  She knows they won’t come to her school events, not even the graduation ceremony that Prince Charles will be attending!  Because they aren’t interested, she has to find a way herself to get the required white shoes for the ceremony.  But when she returns home after waitressing, she discovers that her parents have been kidnapped by foxes!  The only one who can help them is Madeline, who will also need help.  She finds it in Mr. and Mrs. Bunny who have just become detectives, having purchased the necessary fedoras for that sort of work.  The three set out to solve the mystery and rescue Madeline’s parents.  On the way, they have to consort with garlic-bread munching marmots, stand up to the Bunny Council, learn to drive a car wearing disco shoes, and become fast friends.

Horvath takes a clever premise and allows it to twist and turn in her hands, creating a book that is quirky and ultimately lovable.  Her writing is uproariously funny, taking modern culture and making wonderful fun of it along the way.  At the same time, this remains a talking animal book, retaining all of the warmth and charm of that sort of tale.  So there is also plenty of tea, hot soup, and even prune cake to go around.  Think of it as a cozy mystery for children.

Blackall’s illustrations add to the warm but quirky feel of the book.  Scattered nicely throughout the book to encourage young readers, the illustrations have a modern edge but also pay homage to old-fashioned children’s books.  She was the perfect pick for the book.

An ideal read aloud for elementary classes, this book also makes a cozy read all on your own.  Appropriate for ages 8-11.

Reviewed from copy received from Schwartz & Wade Books.

Review: Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger


Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Wow.  That could be my entire review, just WOW.

Let me try to do better than that though.  Seeger looks at the different sorts of green that surround us.  There is sea green, shown with a turtle gliding through not only green but purples, reds, oranges and yellows too.  Lime green, pea green, faded green and fern green.  There are odd sorts of green too like wacky green, slow green and even no green at all.  The book is written simply with only a couple of words per page, making the focus of the book the illustrations.  And what illustrations they are.  This is my pick for the Caldecott winner so far this year. 

The illustrations are paintings that are done with plenty of thick paint, the brushstrokes visible making the pictures tactile.  They have a great depth of color and maintain a playful lightness that speaks to the young audience.  Turn the first page and you will be astonished to find die cuts in the page, done so smoothly and carefully that they don’t ever look like holes in the page until the page is turned. 

The book is a delight of surprises, new perspectives, and just speaks to everything that this format can be for children.  It is an unrivaled success as a concept book.  Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy received from Roaring Brook Press.