Every time the lights go out, some new and unexpected thing happens.
As Rabbit and Fox approach Rabbit’s house, it is dark, but readers can see several figures peeking out of a dark window. Next, readers see a black two-page spread with five pairs of eyes and one line of dialogue: “Huh?” When Fox turns on the light, everybody yells, “Surprise!!” It’s Rabbit’s birthday, and the bunny seems genuinely pleased and…surprised. But then the lights go out again! And when they come back on, everyone’s wearing a funny costume; Porcupine looks like a pirate. And Fox is dressed as a banana! Again the lights go out, and when they return, there’s a disco ball and music all around; literal notes in the air. So it goes. Off, on; off, on. The guests do tricks and hide. Finally there’s a gigantic cake with pink and yellow icing and four lit candles on top. But when it appears, all of Rabbit’s friends seem to have disappeared. They offer one final “SURPRISE!” as they all burst out of the cake, holding presents. And what’s left of the cake is delicious. Henson’s appealing animals look like preschoolers. Besides the book’s title, which is repeated throughout, there is little text, all of it dialogue. Very young children should have fun guessing what comes next after each blackout, and Henson’s minimal text is pre-reader–friendly.
Simply cute. (Picture book. 3-6)