A hawk with deplorable aim seems fated to become an unhappy vegetarian.
The long-eared protein element on his menu seems to have more lives than a cat. The hawk gets the bunny in his sights, zooms in with talons splayed, and comes away with…a carrot? Amid a growing collection of nonmeat items in his nest, and a lot of nonproductive screaming, the stymied hawk suffers an identity crisis. “I’m a carrot hawk.” / “I’m a cucumber hawk.” / “I’m a lettuce hawk.” // “I’m a… / I’m a….” Jack’s lively, 1950s–ish digitalized illustrations successfully capture the escalating frustration against a backdrop of stark white pages. Both hawk and bunny are dapper in button-down shirts and spiffy vests, triggering memories of old Warner Bros. cartoons. One particularly funny illustration uses cookbooks to depict Hawk's existential dilemma: in one "hand" he holds 1001 Ways to Cook Veggies; in the other is 1001 Ways to Cook Rabbit. (Alas, a similarly humorous image on the front endpapers, of Hawk avidly reading How to Cook Rabbits, is covered by the jacket flap, as is a smug bunny on the rear endpapers.) Barton introduces elements of humor, but the book fails to fully execute—think Coyote vs. Roadrunner without the payoff.
A disappointing effort, particularly when compared to Barton’s much more entertaining and creative Shark vs. Train. (Picture book. 3-6)