My youngest grandchild, and only granddaughter Alathea decided to join her brother and cousins in providing a guest book review for Grandpa’s blog.
As was the case with Andrew’s first book review, Alathea cannot yet speak, but I believe I have conscientiously represented her opinion by inferring from her expressions, gestures, and sounds.
The Very Bad Bunny by Marilyn Sadler, illustrated by Roger Bollen, is a third person narrative of P.J. Funnybunny, the picaresque hero of the tale.
Alathea was excited to hear the main character’s name, thinking it signaled an aptronym. This allayed a rather dark sense of foreboding she felt from the title. But alas, P.J. was not very funny at all and the book does indeed take a dark and sinister twist. Alathea wants to be clear however, that the title most definitely does NOT refer to P.J. who was by no means a very bad bunny.
P.J. was simply a bit clumsy and careless as children often are. He created small inconveniences for his family, by accidentally spilling, breaking, or ruining things. Alathea found this aspect of P.J.’s character resonated deeply with her, as she sometimes slobbers rather excessively on her brother Andrew’s toys. She doesn’t try to make them icky, and she certainly isn’t being bad – just a child. She is confident she will grow out of it.
P.J. does have one moment of willful disobedience when he throws his pillow out the window. Alathea is no apologist for P.J. His behavior was wrong and he knew it, but he’s only human – ermmm??? anthropomorphized leporidae after all.
But the real drama in the tale starts when P.J.’s cousin Binky shows up. Binky is a true terror and intentionally naughty. And suddenly P.J. wasn’t so bad. When Binky finally leaves, P.J.’s family is so happy they hoist P.J. on their shoulders and everyone is happy.
In spite of the illustrator’s portrayal of this as a heartwarming, joyous occasion, Alathea is concerned it could send the wrong message to some young readers – that it’s OK to be bad, as long as you are not quite so bad as the next guy (or bunny in this case).
Alathea is thankful her behavior is not judged in comparison to that of her cousins Luke or Judah. She believes that there is right – and there is wrong. They are the standards by which we should be judged. Alathea felt the ephemeral nature of the Funnybunny’s conspicuously dualistic ideology will only lead to confusion and disappointment for P.J. if he is not subjected to a more assessable paradigm.
Still, Alathea thought the bunnys were cute, even Binky, though she feels he needs some tough love. She was glad for the happy ending. She likes P.J.
Alathea gives it 3 ½ stars.
Oh, and Andrew couldn’t help but peek in. He feels that now that he’s reading Tolkien (Mr. Bliss) these types of books are rather childish. He just wanted to see the bunnies.
Click HERE for more book reviews by my Grandsons and Granddaughters.