cover image Rabbit Surprise

Rabbit Surprise

Eric L. Houck. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $14 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-517-58777-5

First-time author Houck scores with this diverting excursion into the realm of whimsy. Billed as ``a breakfast treat,'' the bunny-filled basket Richard Fox receives from his grandmother quickly turns into a hare-raising nightmare. After a magic hat (also contained in the basket) releases an infestation of rabbits and one jumbo bunny magician, Richard calls on brother Johnny to help him out, but it's his own quick thinking that saves the day. (He dares the cotton-tailed Copperfield to make the hat disappear--and voila! no more bunnies). Readers will snicker over the wry ending: in an attempt to console his now-breakfastless brother, Johnny promises he'll share the breakfast basket Grandma coincidentally left on his doorstep. Youngsters will also relish the abundant humor of Catalano's ( Wolf Plays Alone ) illustrations, teeming with emotive rabbits. The soft lines and understated style of his charcoal and pastel drawings add the perfect daffy touch. Ages 3-7. (Mar.)