cover image A Very Big Bunny

A Very Big Bunny

Marisabina Russo, . . Random/Schwartz & Wade, $17.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-375-84463-8

Russo's tale about unlikely friends executes a familiar theme with abundant charm and humor. Lanky Amelia, who closely resembles the bunnies in Russo's The Bunnies Are Not in Their Beds , towers over her classmates, which presents problems on the playground. Fellow students won't swing the jump rope high enough for Amelia; her feet are too big for hopscotch; and “the seesaw was out of the question.” When tiny Susannah joins the class, the others dismiss her as too small, and she turns to Amelia for company. But Amelia stubbornly resists the newcomer's overtures, until Susannah devises a plan to salvage dreaded school picture day. She and Amelia don funky homemade tiaras and jewelry, and they bond for good (even solving the seesaw conundrum). Featuring a saturated palate, Russo's matte gouache illustrations amplify the snappy storytelling (Susannah's innate spunkiness comes through as she hangs from a chain link fence, contrasting with Amelia's hunched surliness and pencil-thin frown). These and other wry flourishes—like the pairs of bunny ears protruding from behind a bush as the friends get fancy—should generate smiles. Ages 4–8. (Jan.)