LITTLE BUNNY FOO FOO

Paul Brett Johnson, Illustrator . Scholastic $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-439-37301-2

In this escalating tale of misbehavior, based on a children's song, Little Bunny Foo Foo pelts woodland animals with "yucky-mucky mud pies." He rides a red wagon and mini-motorcycle in pursuit of smaller creatures, then upgrades to a tractor and crane to chase bigger game. A rhythmic refrain names his victims: "Little Bunny Foo Foo/ Hoppin' through the forest/ Scoopin' up the field mice/ And boppin''em on the head." The delinquent's gleeful antics are observed by a pointy-nosed, outraged opossum in a gaudy purple-and-yellow tutu. This foolish-looking "good fairy" wags her finger and scolds, "Little Bunny Foo Foo/ I don't wanna see you/ Scoopin' up the field mice/ And boppin''em on the head." She gives him three chances, "or I'll turn you into a goon !" (The threat leaves readers understandably curious for the outcome.) Unbowed, the bratty rabbit attacks woodchucks, foxes and bears, forcing the fairy to wave her wand and leave him dressed as a circus clown. Johnson (The Cow Who Wouldn't Come Down ), who favors rustic tricksters in the Br'er Rabbit mold, styles the impish title character as a rubbery-limbed joker while asserting that the animals get "bop[ped] on the head" with nothing worse than drippy brown mud. The opossum's wrath provides an effective buildup, but the culminating one-liner ("Hare today, goon tomorrow") ends on a humdrum note, with the mud-

spattered crowd laughing on a variegated green hillside. Ages 2-5. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 02/02/2004
Release date: 02/01/2004
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