Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake

Michael B Kaplan, Author, Stephane Jorisch, Illustrator
Michael B. Kaplan, illus. by St%C3%A9phane Jorisch. Dutton, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3407-4
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The devil's food cake is in the details of this blithe yet emotionally honest book about the eponymous rabbit, a "handful" of a child who becomes deeply enamored of chocolate cake after her first bite. Much of the book's humor depends upon Betty's misunderstandings—especially the meanings of "handful" ("Betty Bunny knew that her mother and father loved her, and so being a handful must be very, very good") and patience. When Betty's mother insists she eat her healthy dinner before her cake, Betty throws a tantrum before agreeing to be more patient tomorrow. (She quickly reveals she doesn't quite have the concept down when she stealthily slips a piece of cake into her pocket, where it turns into a "brown goopy mess.") Readers will delight in feeling older and wiser than Betty, and both Jorisch (New Year at the Pier) and debut talent Kaplan demonstrate a sure handle on feisty modern family dynamics, whether in Betty's dreamy gaze as she declares, "I am going to marry chocolate cake," or her older brother's surly retort: "Whatever.... But you're going to have really weird-looking kids." Ages 3–5. (May)
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