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Battle Bunny

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  3,280 ratings  ·  601 reviews
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, shar
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published October 22nd 2013 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers (first published September 1st 2013)
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4.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,280 ratings  ·  601 reviews

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Jan 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-laughter
this is a wonderful idea: take a sappy book with a trite story and a heartwarming message and MAKE IT SO MUCH BETTER BY ADDING WEAPONS AND ESSPLOSIONS!!

this is was a story about a little bunny on his birthday. he woke up soooo excited that he was going to see all his friends and they would throw him a party and he would get presents and everyone would shower him with attention and cake. but oh no! looks like everyone forgot it was his birthday because they have other things going on in their liv
Brilliant. I can imagine bringing in Little Golden Books and inviting my students to revise the book into original stories.
Jul 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Remember Duck Amuck? I am referring of course to that old Looney Tunes short where Daffy Duck came to the realization that his fourth wall is a bit . . . faulty. Watching that short, as Daffy is being rubbed out of existence by an eraser I like to think about those kids seeing the short for the first time. Maybe amongst them there are some kids who feel this is a keen bit of transgression. Maybe some are shocked by the fact that unspoken rules are being broken left and right. Or (more likely) ma ...more

After reading Jon Scieszka’s famous children’s books “The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales” and “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs,” I was really excited to check out some of Jon Scieszka’s latest works! Lo and behold, I happened to stumble upon one of Jon Scieszka’s most recent children’s book “Battle Bunny (or Birthday Bunny),” co-written by Mac Barnett along with illustrations by Matthew Myers (along with some help from Alex) and this was a pretty interesting read!

SheriC (PM)
I don’t remember where I saw the recommendation for this book, but thank you, unknown book reviewer, for introducing me to this stinkin’ adorable, yet subversive, little children’s book.

The book is presented as a sickly sweet kiddie book about a birthday bunny who wanders sadly around the forest, meeting various friends who don’t seem to care that it’s his birthday, until *surprise* they have a party for him and HEA. Except that Alex has no use for this gift book from Grandma, and he “improves”
Dec 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant "altered" book that turns a sugary sweet birthday book into a violent quest for absolute power. Fun for all ages.
Full review at:

This picture book would be so much fun as a read aloud (original story than the modified one). Also, I can also picture bringing in picture books (maybe older ones or bought at a used book store) and letting the students modify their own! How much fun!

This book made me laugh out loud! What a perfect insight into the mind of a young boy (reminds me of so many doodles I’ve seen on papers over the year!). Also, I was blown away by the creativi
Carrie Gelson
This title gets full points for its highly appealing "revision" to make a book absolutely kid appreciated. Mind you, not just kid, as my husband read it and instantly wanted to buy a copy for his father for Christmas! It is the creative license that this book celebrates - the humour, the scribbles, the reinventing of a character . . . that I love. Also worth noting - I showed the book trailer to my class and they ask me about 15 times a day if I have bought the book yet! (Can't wait to book talk ...more
Dec 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars rounded up. The concept is so very brilliant, but the strain of reading the book doesn't yield a big pay-off for me. But then, I'm not an eight yo boy. I'm unsure, too, if this has shelf appeal, because it looks *exactly* like an old, scuffed, defaced baby story. Alex. the main character, is going places, though; he's so imaginative and talented.

And you and your kids can, too. Go to and make your own version. Or go to a thrift store and find your own re-writable
Both a fun story that most young children will enjoy for its irreverence, and also a sly critique on contemporary literacy. Like a picture book version of JJ Abrams's S. Dual narrative, each informing the other, creating a third story-space that belongs to the reader. So much food-for-thought here...
Lisa W.
Dec 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* This deliciously subversive piece of metafiction skewers—with a sharp wit and a sharper pencil—the earnest, purposeful literature so popular in the middle of the last century. The fun begins with a facsimile of something akin to an antique Little Golden Book, Birthday Bunny, complete with worn cover, yellowed pages, and wholesome message. But the book has been "improved" in story and pictures by a child named Alex wielding his trusty no. 2. The cover, retitled B
Mar 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Again, another children's book beats almost all the other fiction books I've read this year. Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett and illustrated by Matthew Myers is great. Jon Scieszka writes kids' books that are creative, inventive, and funny. He takes traditional tales and subverts them to be smart and appealing to both children and the adults who have to read them to children. Battle Bunny is the story of a Bunny who is sad because his forest friends haven't recognized that today is ...more
Recommended by someone on Twitter and having already found myself a huge Scieszka fan after The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, I loved this book from the very first page onwards (or even the front cover) for the very clever play it does with form and style.
Originally a book meant for a young boy as a birthday present, it finds its schmaltzy, sickening narrative completely defaced by the owner in which Birthday Bunny becomes Battle Bunny and undergoes a series of deadly escapad
Mar 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2014
My poor disturbed 4-year-old nephew kept asking, "why did someone write in the book?" My 10 year-old son's response to the book was, "That's pretty cool. I want to do that and change the story of a book too. Do you have one I can write on?"

Those two responses can create a problem. Regardless, it's a very funny book. The dynamic duo of Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett never fails to put on a great show that is sure to entertain!

The story can be overwhelming and confusing to read with all the "graffit
Jan 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
So, so funny and clever. Laurie, I was thinking of giving this to Iris for her birthday but since I decided on something else in the end, now you guys should get it from the library if you haven't already. You will all love it.

I think format stuff will probably keep this off both Newbery and Caldecott lists, and probably Geisel too, but it deserves a wide readership.
Mar 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015, easy-juvenile
Love the idea of remaking a book, but I was seriously underwhelmed by the execution. It's like mixing a little golden book and axe cop, and it could have been so much more. Instead of taking something hokey and making it violent, I sort of wish that it had just taken something basic and made it more complex, if that makes sense.
Nov 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Another brilliant idea. My class are begging me to keep bringing it in so they can read it themselves - they want to try and find the little details that adorn this book for themselves. Well worth adding to any children's collection.
Monica Edinger
Jul 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Also at educating alice. (Written back in May, but forgot to post it here until now when I saw Betsy's review.)

I am a big fan of subversive books, say the "recommended inappropriate books for kids" featured in Lane Smith's Curious Pages.  That said, I also have observed that kids respond better to some of these more than others, an issue I explored years ago in a Horn Book article "Pets and Other Fishy Books." So when I ran into Jon Scieszka a few months ago and he excitedly told me about the fo
Jan 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Admittedly, I'm a Jon Scieszka fangirl (I'll even admit to clandestinely taking a stalker-esque photo of him when I saw him in the book room at the NCTE a couple years ago), so I was pretty much determined to love this book no matter what.

The premise is in Scieszka's typically subversive vein: here, a kid named Alex has overwritten a sappy picture book, "Birthday Bunny," given to him by his grandma…or "Gran Gran," as she inscribes the title page. Alex has not only retitled the book "Battle Bunn
Jan 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
We love reading books by Jon Scieszka and so I was excited to see this new picture book.

The concept is novel and yet I wonder why anyone hasn't thought of this before. The book has a well-worn look to it, with roughed up corners (or at least simulated pictures of roughed up corners). And the book is defaced throughout by a clever little boy named Alex.

The way that Alex inserts himself into the modified story reminds me of the Chester books by Mélanie Watt. And the humor is similar, too, but qu
Reminiscent of a Little Golden Book, Birthday Bunny is the predictable story of a bunny who wakes up on his birthday and none of his friends remember it's his special day. But then of course, in the end, his friends really remembered it was his birthday and throw him a surprise party. Well Alex thinks Birthday Bunny is lame so he decides to make up his own story, crossing out and erasing words, adding new words and pictures to create Battle Bunny. What begins as a demure, submissive little child ...more
Carol Royce Owen
Nov 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Be prepared to be amused, and don't blink, or you'll miss some of the fun. For example, don't miss the title page where you read the sweet sentiment from Alex's grandmother, obviously a grandmother out of touch with her grandson's preferences, or the first page of the story, seemingly unedited, until you look at the illustration and you notice the picture on the wall of a mother bunny leaning over the bed of two rabbits with the words "Drink your poison" written above.. Yes, what was a seemingly ...more
Michele Knott
When you put two comical authors together like Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett, you know you're going to be laughing out loud!
Battle Bunny is the story of "Birthday Bunny" with some "changes" made to it by the "author", Alex. Apparently the story of "Birthday Bunny" was not dangerous enough for Alex so he made some alterations. "Birthday Bunny" becomes "Battle Bunny" and instead of "hopping" through the forest he is "chopping" through the woods. Not only does Alex change the words of the story, he
Daniel Thornton
Aug 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
When I saw this book on the shelf at the library, I couldn't resist picking it up. And when I saw it was by Jon Scieszka, I knew I'd have to bring it home with me. I'm sure many others from my generation will, like me, be immediately reminded of Strong Bad's "Everyone is Different." As funny as that particular sbemail was, this is much more suitable as an actual children's book.
I first read this to my 4-year-old daughter as "Birthday Bunny" at her request. This is still the version she prefers.
Pam ☼Because Someone Must Be a Thorn☼ Tee
Adorable book.

I read Battle Bunny myself and then handed it off to my tween boy. His reaction was to read it and then re-read it right away. We then sat down together to look at the art and see if we had missed any of the jokes. (And they're there, hiding in various places.)

But let me back up. The idea behind the book is that a boy receives a book from his Gran-Gran on his birthday. She saw it at a garage sale and thought of him. And the only problem is that The Birthday Bunny book is really for
Feb 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely hilarious!!! Little Alexander vandalizes his birthday gift. It is possible that Gran Gran was not keeping up with either Alexander's age or his interests, and the book was an insult to his intelligence; therefore his transformation of it into something more palatable to his own tastes. The first time I read this book, I fell in love with it and its clever, subversive changing of a benign and rather trite birthday book into a story of an evil rabbit and his plan to destroy the forest. ...more
Feb 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This insane parody is a laugh a minute. Aren't there some stories you just wish you could rewrite? Kudos to the authors who not only created the jokes, but created a "sweet and syrupy" book first that they then crossed out and vandalized with child-like scrawls, lettering, and pictures throughout. Young children might laugh at the story, but children will have to be at reading level to get the whole picture here, because it is pretty ingenious, and plays on the sentence structures a lot.

Jan 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favourite kids books ever and makes me want to do a book hacking program with some kids. I don't even know how I'd read this out loud but I want everyone to read it. Recommended to everyone who thinks that BUNNY BIRTHDAYS ARE BORING and could do with some DESTRUCTION

Also I love that on every page all the trees have their tops chopped off with a hand saw.

Tena Edlin
May 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Hilarious. Creative. It makes me want to take all the pointless baby books I was forced to read in lower elementary and rewrite them for my own interests. I think so many great writing activities could develop from this book. It takes a few times to really read this book... I read the original story, I read the modified story, and then I had to look again to find all the funny little details on every page. I could probably read it 10 times and still find something new!
This book gets 5 stars for just being genius. Not only is the story hilarious, it's a very clever idea! And this book could inspire many kids to scribble in their old picture books, which both horrifies me (the librarian side) and intrigues me (the art side).

Before you give this book to your kid, hit up the flea market or used book sale at the library and buy a bunch of old picture books that have no sentimental value for you and include them in the present.
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The new mash-up? 1 12 Oct 26, 2013 11:25PM  

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Jon Scieszka is a writer and teacher. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and two children. Occasionally he has been known to howl at the full moon. --from the dust jacket of "The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs"

Jon Scieszka is also the author of the best-selling ALA Notable Book, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, as well as Knights of the Kitchen Table, and The Not-So-Jolly Roger
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