cover image The Bunnies Are Not in Their Beds

The Bunnies Are Not in Their Beds

Marisabina Russo, . . Random/Schwartz & Wade, $15.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-375-83961-0

In Russo's (Come Back, Hannah! ) funny bedtime tale of escalating mischief, three rebellious bunnies try to outwit and outlast their parents. "Nighttime is here," coos the opening of the story. "Little bunnies are tucked in bed./ Good night, good night, sleep tight." But soon the sounds of "Click Clack, Click Clack" draw Mama and Daddy from their finally quiet living room to their offsprings' bedroom ("Sounds like the bunnies are not in their beds"). There they discover the long-eared little ones busily setting up their model trains. "No more tracks on the floor./ .../ Good night,/ good night,/ sleep tight," say the parent bunnies firmly. But the message doesn't sink in. Time and again, the grown-ups hear noises, climb the stairs and find their children engaged in ever-more elaborate activities; by the time the final admonition is given (the litany of forbidden behavior now takes up an entire page) the bunnies have assembled both a toy railroad and racetrack, concocted a raucous Wild West game, and even transformed themselves into a mini-marching band, complete with uniforms ("Boom, boom, boom! / Honk, squonk, honk! / Clash, clash, smash! "). Readers will probably respond with a fit of giggles—not only because the misbehavior comically spirals out of control, but also because Russo's crisply colored and calmly rendered vignettes make such an effective comic foil. Ages 3-7. (Jan.)