cover image The Pretty, Pretty Bunny

The Pretty, Pretty Bunny

Dave Horowitz, Putnam, $12.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-399-25276-1

Horowitz's (Buy My Hats!) name on the cover is an instant tip-off that the titular character is in for a comeuppance. And indeed, the aptly named rabbit, Narcissa, who taunts her fellow woodland creatures with impunity ("Check out the crazy headgear," she says of the moose, who responds dejectedly, "Ya know... I'm standing right here"), finally hurls an insult at the wrong creature—a magical frog who gives her a taste of her own medicine. Horowitz's considerable comic skills have always been the main draw of his books, but unfortunately he's not in top form here. The text lacks his customary goofy Mad magazine–style wit—even Narcissa's barbs are pretty lame, calling a turtle a "bump on a log" and the frog "one ugly dude"—and the shaggy-dog resolution has the mark of an idea that ran out of steam. No one wants hugging and learning from this author, but at the very least there's the expectation of a zingy punch line. Ages 2–6. (Jan.)