Friday, July 19, 2013
Book Review - Battle Bunny
Illustrator: Matthew Myers
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (October 22, 2013)
Source: An advanced copy
Audience: Ages 5 and older
Description from GoodReads:
Encourage creativity with this wildly entertaining picture book mash-up from the minds of Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett. Alex has been given a saccharine, sappy, silly-sweet picture book about Birthday Bunny that his grandma found at a garage sale. Alex isn’t interested—until he decides to make the book something he’d actually like to read. So he takes out his pencil, sharpens his creativity, and totally transforms the story!
Birthday Bunny becomes Battle Bunny, and the rabbit’s innocent journey through the forest morphs into a supersecret mission to unleash an evil plan—a plan that only Alex can stop.
Featuring layered, original artwork that emphasizes Alex’s additions, this dynamic exploration of creative storytelling is sure to engage and inspire.
My thoughts on this book:
Since Battle Bunny doesn't come out until October, I was thinking of waiting to review this one. However, after ALA, I started seeing some buzz on Twitter about it and thought I would post a review now.
When I first saw the Folded & Gathered (F&G) for Battle Bunny, I wondered a lot about this book. After reading it, I realized this book was not a typical picture book or early reader? And this was not going to be a cute little read aloud either. For a moment, I even questioned the state of mind of Scieszka and Barnett. I mean absolutely no disrespect for either of these two authors. Both are brilliant and very talented. Let's take a look at the book for a moment.
Battle Bunny begins in a manner that is reminiscent of a Little Golden Book. Here is the cover for Home for a Bunny:
Here is the cover for Battle Bunny. See the similarity underneath all the scratch outs?
And when you open up to the first page of Battle Bunny, there is a sense that you are taken back to the 1940's and 1950's.
Now turn the page, and the fun begins....
I like to imagine what the creative process was for Battle Bunny. Did Barnett and Sciezska send the text for Birthday Bunny to Matthew Myers, who then sent back clean illustrated pages made to look like a Little Golden Book?
And if so, can you imagine his reaction, when receiving "edits" on pages like the one above after Mac and Jon had some fun? Birthday Bunny has morphed into Battle Bunny.
I realize that Mac and Jon may likely have been working in different states as they wrote this book, but I enjoy imagining that the two were sitting together with pencils out and a mad gleam in their eyes as they "re-wrote" the book.
I wondered how much they shared with their editor in advance and how much was a surprise? If I was the editor, I am not even sure where to begin in giving feedback. Did the editor get into the fun? Or did she just pull out an ice pack for her headache and reach for the anti-acids and let this creative team run ripshod over the book?
Regardless of the process, the end results are actually brilliant. Now what to do with this book?
If you know of or have seen an earlier copy of this book, please talk it up with booksellers and librarians and teachers. I am so thankful that many of my twitter friends get this book, but my fear is that there are many teachers who will not find this book or may not see the potential for how the book can be used in the classroom.
Yes, this book could be enjoyed one on one with a young child, but this will be an excellent text for discussion the writing and editing process with older students. Locate all those old Little Golden Books in storage, pull out a document camera, and begin to have fun with this book.
Though this site isn't fully functioning yet, check back closer to the release date for the website for Battle Bunny: mybirthdaybunny.com