cover image Black Belt Bunny

Black Belt Bunny

Jacky Davis, illus. by Jay Fleck. Dial, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-525-42902-9

An off-page narrator introduces Black Belt Bunny, a small, energetic rabbit seen wearing a white gi. After telling readers about the skills the rabbit has mastered (“downward blocks, center punches, and knee drops”), the narrator drops a shocker: “Now it is time for you, little Black Belt, to learn how to... make a salad.” Black Belt Bunny’s ears droop, he hides, and he attempts to flag a taxi before turning his martial arts abilities on the veggies (“Side-kick those carrots. Slice that lettuce!”). Giving the unseen narrator all the speaking lines while Bunny responds through gesture and expression lets Fleck (Double Take! A New Look at Opposites) demonstrate his own chops with an array of scowls, pouts, and conspiratorial grins (and kicks and punches, of course). Black Belt Bunny is a great stand-in for any super-wiggly elementary schooler as Davis (the Ladybug Girl series) combines martial arts action, sly humor, and the conviction that even the very small can learn how to channel their energy into real-world tasks. Ages 3–5. Author’s agent: Douglas Stewart, Sterling Lord Literistic. Illustrator’s agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Agency. (July)