cover image Listen, Buddy

Listen, Buddy

Helen Lester. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-395-72361-6

His ears are enormous, but listening is not the forte of a bunny named Buddy. And his misinterpretations of his parents's requests make for the sort of silly confusion that youngsters love: when his father asks for a pen, Buddy drags in a disgruntled hen; instead of the slice of bread his mother wants, Buddy turns up with the sawed-off headboard from a bed. Taking his first solo ""long hop,"" Buddy forgets whether he is supposed to take a left or a right when the road forks. He selects the wrong route, of course, and ends up at the cave of the Scruffy Varmint, where he unleashes merry mayhem in trying to help that cranky creature cook soup. After the varmint decides that he'd rather eat stew made from ""the Bunnyrabbit who never listens,"" Buddy hears him loud and clear. If lacking the all-out pizazz of Lester and Munsinger's Tacky the Penguin, this sprightly paced tale amiably nudges kids whose direction-following skills need some honing. Munsinger's watercolors-and Buddy's comical expressions in particular-are characteristically entertaining. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)