Take a bunny, put it in its second favorite thing—a magic top hat—and you get what is known as a population explosion.
Mole and his friend, the Lumpy-Bumpy Thing (a crocodile), like to label things. Honeysuckle, woodpecker, slimy/snail (two labels)—but they meet their match when they come across something entirely new: a “snow bunny.” As the two start sticking labels on the white bunny—cute, floppy—the bunny takes off. The Lumpy-Bumpy Thing returns with both the bunny and a top hat labeled: “Warning! Do not touch!” When the Lumpy-Bumpy Thing doffs the hat, out pops a bunny—and another, and another. Not just a fluffle emerges, but, as Mole notes when he tries to label each new one, “a big problem.” The bunnies invade Mole’s garden, and a tug of war ensues over a carrot. The carrot goes flying right into the top hat, and the bunny jumps in after. Aha! Mole and pal toss in more carrots, and more bunnies follow. When they have all returned to the hat, Mole and the Lumpy-Bumpy Thing bring it back to wherever such hats come from. Then the crocodile notices something: a magic wand with a label, “Warning! Do not touch!” Once bitten, twice not the least bit shy. Despite Warnes’ moderately enjoyable, Looney Tunes–y artwork, the story is a muddle. Responsibility for meddling with the off-limits hat is never acknowledged, sharing the garden bounty with the fluffle is never considered, learning from mistakes is skated over, squashing and scaring the bunnies is actively pursued. Poor wabbits.
It’s hard to sympathize with anyone here. (Picture book. 3-7)