Caleb's Reviews > Bunny Days

Bunny Days by Tao Nyeu
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Feb 26, 10

bookshelves: picture-books
Read in February, 2010

This is the follow-up to Tao Nyeu's 2008 book Wonder Bear, and it is composed of three shorter stories, each featuring a half dozen little white rabbits getting into some sort of trouble, and then getting out of that trouble with the help of a big white bear with big claws that looks an awful lot like the bear in Wonder Bear (although he seems to employ more technological know-how than magic in his problem-solving here).

In "Muddy Bunnies," the bunnies are splashed with mud from Mr. Goat's tractor, and the bear puts them in a washing machine that's incongruously set up and working on a hill (Don't worry, the bear uses the delicate cycle). In "Dusty Bunnies," Mrs. Goat is vacuuming the grass for some reason, using a vacuum cleaner with a little face on it, and she accidentally sucks up all the bunnies. Bear dusts them off, fixes the vacuum and solves the problem of bunnies being accidentally sucked up by vacuum cleaners in the future. And finally, in "Bunny Tails", Mr. Goat is trimming hedges when he accidentally cuts off the bunnies' little cotton ball tails. Bear re-attaches them...with a sewing a machine.

Nyeu's art retains the considerable virtues it displayed in Wonder Bear, and the marriage of domesticity with wild nature gives the entire book an amusing incongruity. Additionally, there's a refreshing (naughty?) sense of danger in the way one character sticks others in the washing machine or puts them under a sewing machine, without fine print saying "Bunnies are trained professionals. Don't try this at home."

Unlike Wonder Bear, which was silent, each of these stories is told with words as well as pictures, and each one of them ends with the words "Everyone is happy," a fresh, new, simpler and more realistic version of "They all lived happily ever after." Perhaps the formulation is necessitated by the fact that the bunnies keep finding themselves in unhappier circumstances, but there's something really comforting about that expression, and the way it's repeated over and over gives it an almost mantra-like quality.
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