cover image Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny

Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny

John Himmelman. Holt, $13.99 (128p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9970-6

Himmelman (Duck to the Rescue) draws on his own experience as a martial arts instructor in 12 brief tales about a rabbit named Isabel, “the best bunjitsu artist in her school.” Nearly every story concludes with a quiet lesson, and while Isabel certainly has opportunities to show off her skills, many vignettes underscore that “bunjitsu is not just about kicking, hitting, and throwing,” as Isabel explains. “It is about finding ways NOT to kick, hit, and throw.” Thus, when Isabel is challenged to a fight by the large, menacing Jackrabbit, her avoidance of the fight displays not cowardice but smarts. “So you lost on purpose?” asks Isabel’s friend Max. “No, I did not lose,” she replies. “He did not hit me.” And when Isabel attempts to become “a true bunjitsu artist” by defeating an angry wave, she realizes that gently riding the wave into shore can be more powerful than even a “spinning bunjitsu tornado fist.” Spare ink illustrations appear on every page, skillfully balancing humor, bunjitsu action, and understated grace. Like Isabel herself, this one’s a winner in unexpected ways. Ages 6–8. (Oct.)