Ever a guilty pleasure anyway, the popular but violent preschool hand rhyme takes a gothic turn in this startling iteration.
Doerrfeld concocts an oh-so-sweet visual story line for the lyric, setting a snub-nosed, big-eyed bunny baker off in pursuit of a crew of cute little cupcake rustlers. At first Little Bunny delivers only gentle cuffs with her oven mitt as she recovers the cupcakes, and she shows remorse when the pink-haired, pink-cheeked Good Fairy descends to warn that she’ll be turned into a monster if she keeps it up. But as the mice, joined by several birds and squirrels, continue to snatch bites, Foo Foo’s mild annoyance intensifies to such outright rage that the climactic transformation definitely turns out to be a tactical mistake on the Good Fairy’s part. Bright, simply painted pictures set the chase on a pleasant sward with an open, woodsy backdrop populated by relentlessly adorable little creatures, none of whom appear to be more than momentarily discomforted by all that bopping.
Never have expectations been more thoroughly set up, and then gleefully confounded. (Picture book. 4-6)