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BIG BAD BUNNY by Franny Billingsley Kirkus Star


by Franny Billingsley & illustrated by G. Brian Karas

Age Range: 3 - 6

Pub Date: March 25th, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-4169-0601-8
Publisher: Richard Jackson/Atheneum

Opening with a point-counterpoint exchange, readers first meet terrifying Big Bad Bunny then see the nurturing Mouse House where Mama’s going through comforting naptime rituals with her children. Visual and textual contrapositions build exquisitely till Mama discovers Baby Boo-Boo missing from her wee bed (“EEK!”) and sets off determinedly to find her. Midway through the story comes the big reveal: Big Bad Bunny is in fact Baby Boo-Boo clad in bunny-wear. Mama leads the lost toddler safely home with assurances of love. The narrative structure includes three repetitive treks through river, swamp and bushes, including swell sound effects. Karas’s Big Bad Bunny, depicted with fearsome Groucho-like eyebrows, yellow fangs, pink polka-dotted pajamas and bunny slippers, is both scary and cute. This books works on every level: narrative arc, patterning, graphic-design elements (cue delighted dramatic reader), pacing, illustrations that express the comic mood and natural movement of the story. Underlying the sly fun is a Mama who knows her stuff. (Picture book. 3-6)