Bella the rabbit narrates this earnest story about caring for pet rabbits in the home.
Bella was born in a barn on a farm, part of a huge family of bunnies. The farmer sells the baby bunnies to a pet store, where a brother and sister choose Bella as an Easter present. The children play with Bella at first, but then they lose interest in her, and her cage is left outside without adequate food or water. Another girl, Rosalita, rescues Bella and takes her to a much better life in her house. Rosalita quickly wins Bella’s affection and then teaches her how to use play equipment in a rabbit-sized obstacle course. They go on to participate in a competition course with other rabbits, and Bella wins a ribbon for her performance. Though Bella’s transformation from nervous victim to confident performer is unrealistically fast, her story is touching and draws attention to the plight of unwanted pets purchased without adequate planning and preparation. Pleasant illustrations in candy-bright colors make Bella an appealing character, though she sometimes seems more like a toy bunny than a real rabbit. An author’s note gives more information about pet house rabbits and lists additional resources.
Wearing its heart on its sleeve, this story has a mission, but it’s a worthy one. (Informational picture book. 4-8)