cover image Battle Bunny

Battle Bunny

Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett, illus. by Matthew Myers. Simon & Schuster, $14.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4424-4673-1

Scieszka and Barnett wonder what would happen if the young recipient of a dorky picture book, Birthday Bunny, decided to... improve its treacly text and soppy pictures, and make himself the hero to boot. Scrawling in pencil over the original story and its creamy, vintage-style oil images, Alex rechristens the book’s main character, Birthday Bunny, as Battle Bunny, turning the floppy-eared cutie into a helmeted, eye patch–wearing, saw-wielding global nemesis, complete with an Evil Plan and knowledge of 1,104 fighting styles. “Today is Judgment day!” announces one of Battle Bunny’s friends-turned-foes. “Yes it is,” replies the warmongering rabbit. “Judgment day for you!!!” Can anyone stop Battle Bunny? How about a certain boy who’s very good with a pencil? Kids should absolutely not try this at home (at least not with library books), but they’ll get plenty of vicarious laughs out of Alex’s changes, which becomes so extensive and freewheeling that the original book (about an innocuous forest surprise party) is all but illegible. A hilarious and transgressive story with a clear message: Don’t suffer schlock. Ages 5–9. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Oct.)