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30 DAYS OF PB 2013 aDay Twenty: Battle Bunny

by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett

w/ pictures by Matthew Myers

Simon & Schuster, 2013

breaking bad bunny

Alex, whose birthday it is, hijacks a story about Birthday Bunny on his special day and turns it into a battle between a supervillain and his enemies in the forest–who, in the original story, are simply planning a surprise party.–book summary

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Battle-Bunny-coverlarge1ssYou know the saccharine picture book that is so cloying it would rot your teeth after a few reads if your teeth had survived the first reading seeing as there is that unfortunate but compulsive need to— yeah, I should stop there, because undoubtedly you already know of the kind of pain of which I speak. Children do, too. And they anticipate more than the grimacing contrived sweetness.

Whenever I synopsize Birthday Bunny (the original, terrible book) for a bunch of kids, I say: “A bunny wakes up on his birthday. But none of his friends remember it’s his special day. He goes to the forest, and he sits on a stump, and he gets very sad, and what do you think happens at the end?” And then a chorus of bored kid-voices comes back in unison: “They throw him a surprise party.” It’s a pretty good axiom for a children’s book writer: Surprise parties are not surprising.–Mac Barnett (7 Imps interview)

Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett have found away to rescue this type of picture book from the collective groan. They enlisted Matthew Myers’ help and created Birthday Bunny and Battle Bunny.

Their effort to avoid an overtly contrived work succeeds in how well Alex is characterized from cover to cover. It is easy to attribute the changes from Birthday Bunny to Battle Bunny to Alex without thought of the grown men behind the project. Believing a child is wielding a pen, who can possible guess where the story is going?!

ba bu tumblr_muivaw4ipC1qk8jkmo3_r1_500ba bu Birthday Bunny is so terribly convincing it serves only to make the modifications that much more impressive. For example, their ability to transform this adorable bunny into something considerably more vicious will transfix the reader. Battle Bunny works as catharsis, pushing back against the subject and themes of Birthday Bunny. It inspires creativity–and perhaps more, the artist-reader’s ownership of their creative spirit. Its also just hilarious. 

Experience this one. and gift it.

_____________________________

do check out this 7 Imps June 2013 interview!

{Images belong to Matthew Myers}

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