cover image Thunder Bunny

Thunder Bunny

Barbara Helen Berger, . . Philomel, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-22035-7

Berger's (All the Way to Lhasa: A Tale from Tibet ) winsome tale introduces a bunny born blue, who's part archetype, part preschooler. Thunder Bunny is different, all right. Old Granny says that Thunder Bunny "came out of the blue," and when the heroine avows "I came from the sky," her siblings scoff. This precipitates an adventure aloft. Thunder Bunny connects with the natural elements that perennially pique children's curiosity—wind, clouds, thunder and lightning, sun and moon. While brave Thunder Bunny rides the raging storm, proclaiming (in crystal-clear homage to Sendak's In the Night Kitchen ), "I am the blue and the blue is me!" her family "huddled and cuddled" below in a warren carved out of the hillside. Realizing that Thunder Bunny is missing, her family hunts for her, and sees "up on the hill... a glorious rabbit." As a result of her transformative quest, Thunder Bunny, with a sun aglow on her breast and a crescent moon nestled in her left ear, is now "a sun and moon bunny,/ clear and true and out of the blue,/ the blue that is always there, no matter what." Berger's pictures combine cut-paper and collage bunnies, sweetly rendered in pale pastels, with larger, torn paper elements that suggest the sky, clouds, a meadow and rain. The fluidly distilled text—with its occasional near rhyme, a child's perspective and resonant phrases such as "a cloud billowed up" and "not a whiffle of wind"—is just right. Ages 4-up. (Feb.)