Betty Bunny Didn’t Do It by Michael B. Kaplan, illustrated by Stephane Jorisch
I’m a Betty Bunny fan, since I enjoy protagonists in children’s books who have a feel of being a real kid. Betty Bunny in this third book in the series breaks a lamp when her siblings refuse to play with her. When she is asked about it, she blames it on the Tooth Fairy. Betty Bunny thinks this works so very well that she’s surprised it hadn’t occurred to her to try it before. But things quickly unravel when her mother asks if she’s telling the truth. Betty admits to telling an “honest lie” and is sent to her room. Later, when a vase is broken, everyone in the family automatically blames Betty Bunny, but she really didn’t do it this time!
Betty Bunny is precocious for a four year old. I enjoy the way that Kaplan explains what Betty is thinking about her new ideas. Also, the family dynamics ring very honest with older siblings unwilling to play but all too willing to offer witty advice.
Jorisch’s illustrations have a great modern vibe to them. The bunny family is active and they dynamic lives appear clearly on the page. This has the trademark style of the earlier books with zingy writing and a naughty but quite charming little bunny at the center.
Fans of the earlier books in the series will find more to love here. This series is not for every reader or family as some will find the naughtiness less funny and more problematic. Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Reviewed from copy received from Dial Books.
Busy-Busy Little Chick by Janice N. Harrington, illustrated by Brian Pinkney
Mama Nsoso and her chicks needed a new home. They spent each night shivering and cold in their dark, damp nest. So Mama Nsoso said that tomorrow they would start work on their new home. But the first day, Mama Nsoso found worms to eat and decided to eat rather than build a house. The family shivered through another night. The next day there were crickets to eat and no work was done. Except by Little Chick who set out to gather grasses and mud to create their new home. His hard work resulted in a fine new home for them, and then he was off finding himself some delicious bugs to eat.
Harrington writes like a storyteller. Her words flow beautifully when shared aloud. She has reworked a classic fable from the Nkundo people of Central Africa and throughout has woven in Lunkundo words from their language. She has also added lots of sounds to the book, so there are wonderful patterns that emerge as the hen and her chicks move through their day. She clearly enjoys wordplay and creating rhymes and rhythms, all of which make for a great book to share aloud.
Pinkney’s art is large and bold, filled with warm yellows and oranges. He has created images of the hen and her little family isolated and floating in cold blues. They are brilliant orange, evoking the warmth of family and shelter. His art is simple but filled with moving lines and playfulness with white space.
A great pick for spring story times, don’t be chicken to share this one. Appropriate for ages 4-7.
Reviewed from copy received from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.