Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny by John Himmelman
Isabel is the best at Bunjitsu in her school. They call her Bunjitsu Bunny, but she knows to never use her martial arts skills to hurt anyone, unless she has to. This easy reader features a series of short stories about her Buntjitsu skills and how she uses them throughout the day. Isabel figures out before anyone else in her class how to get into the school when the door is locked. She outwits pirates who want to steal from her. She races a tortoise in a fresh take on the Tortoise and the Hare story. In one story after the other, Isabel shows her poise, her intelligence and her sense of honor.
This book for the early chapter book reader will appeal on many fronts. First of course is the martial arts aspect, though those looking for flying fists and fighting will find something very different here. Inside the covers is a unique mix of Eastern philosophy and problem solving that is presented at a level that children will understand.
Himmelman’s illustrations offer just the right amount of break for young readers, so that they will not be put off by the amount of text. The fonts are equally welcoming with their large size. The illustrations are done in black, white and red. They are welcoming and cartoony, created often with just a few lines that carry plenty of action and humor.
A unique and fascinating chapter book for new readers, this is a wonderful mix of girl power, martial arts and restraint. Appropriate for ages 6-8.
Reviewed from copy received from Henry Holt and Co.
Hunters of the Great Forest by Dennis Nolan
Released October 28, 2014
This wordless picture book is the story of a group of hunters who head out from their small village one day and into the forest. Bringing only a handful of items with them, the group must face large rocks, mountains and enormous trees. It quickly becomes apparent that the hunters are tiny people as they are forced to run from buzzing dragonflies and then from a hungry toad. After escaping those creatures, the hunters must then flee from a bird and a chipmunk. Sneaking out later from their hiding place, the hunters discover a girl sitting by a campfire roasting marshmallows. But even though they have food to bring back to their village, the dangers are not over for our intrepid group of hunters.
Wonderfully detailed pictures make this a spectacular picture book to share. The journey of the hunters makes for a page-turning delight filled with dangers, mishaps and surprises. If you pay close attention to the illustrations, some of the surprises can be predicted with clues about the next page. For example, you can see the toad’s legs in the corner of the page before the toad is fully revealed after the page turn. This makes for a book that reads as a continual stream of story, rather than individual images strung into a story.
I applaud Nolan for including plenty of little female hunters on the journey as well. There are young and old little people too. And even better, if you watch, it is not the women who need rescuing on the journey. In fact, the older of the little women carries the spear the entire journey and seems ready to use it at times.
Join the hunters on their quest for the elusive marshmallows in this journey through a forest filled with dangers of all sorts. It’s a jolly read that is sure to please. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from copy received from Roaring Brook Press.