Sure to inspire some new ninja bunnies.



From the Ninja Bunny series

A primer on how to be a ninja, especially if you are a bunny.

This rabbit has a goal and so consults a book entitled How to Be a Super Awesome Ninja. In a blue, full-body ninja suit with mask, the bunny demonstrates each rule. “A super awesome ninja must always work alone,” says Rule 1, so the blue-clad rabbit deserts the other bunnies, who quirk eyebrows in a great range of emotion from skeptical and annoyed to concerned and sad. Pictures show the difference between each rule on paper and the rabbit’s success. There might have been “super sneaky” success in a nighttime carrot garden but for the danger of a waiting rake. A ninja must “achieve invisibility,” but the bunny ears sticking out of that bush are pretty identifiable. Pinned upside down to a branch, balancing on one foot at the top of a pointy pine, or plunging through the air—rather, “master[ing] the ability to fly”—this child-shaped bunny is hilarious. Olson’s ink-and-watercolor illustrations make dramatic use of scale, white space, and the contrast between curved lines and straight, blocky lines. When an enormous enemy shows up and forces a re-evaluation of Rule 1, the suspense is simultaneously real and funny, and the bear’s sudden change in scale reveals the power of a group working together.

Sure to inspire some new ninja bunnies. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-75493-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2015

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The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.


Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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