cover image Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake

Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake

Michael B. Kaplan, illus. by St%C3%A9phane Jorisch. Dutton, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3407-4

The devil's food cake is in the details of this blithe yet emotionally honest book about the eponymous rabbit, a "handful" of a child who becomes deeply enamored of chocolate cake after her first bite. Much of the book's humor depends upon Betty's misunderstandings%E2%80%94especially the meanings of "handful" ("Betty Bunny knew that her mother and father loved her, and so being a handful must be very, very good") and patience. When Betty's mother insists she eat her healthy dinner before her cake, Betty throws a tantrum before agreeing to be more patient tomorrow. (She quickly reveals she doesn't quite have the concept down when she stealthily slips a piece of cake into her pocket, where it turns into a "brown goopy mess.") Readers will delight in feeling older and wiser than Betty, and both Jorisch (New Year at the Pier) and debut talent Kaplan demonstrate a sure handle on feisty modern family dynamics, whether in Betty's dreamy gaze as she declares, "I am going to marry chocolate cake," or her older brother's surly retort: "Whatever.... But you're going to have really weird-looking kids." Ages 3%E2%80%935. (May)