“Bunny loved books.” Bunny loves to hide in the bushes and listen to the nice lady with the red glasses read to the children on the front steps of the library. He can close his eyes and imagine that he is scaling treacherous mountains, captaining a pirate ship, or ruling an exotic country on the other side of the world. Bunny learns that through the world of books, you can live a thousand lives.
When Fall comes, story time moves inside. Bunny peers through windows to glean a story or two, but he desperately misses those wonderful books. One night he can’t sleep, and he creeps to the library hoping to find a way in. Unfortunately, every window and door is locked tight.
But Bunny is a resourceful critter, and he finds the book drop. With a hop and a squish, Bunny squeezes through, and he’s inside his beloved library at last. There are hundreds of books, and Bunny races from one section of the library to the next. He grabs as many as he can carry and drags them through the forest to his cozy burrow. Soon Bunny is bringing his friends along, including Mole, Bear, Frog and Squirrel. They all love the library, and sneak books out to read at home.
One evening the librarian shows up. “Follow me,” she says sternly. Heads low, the animals follow her for a punishment. But the nice librarian surprises them, and gives them each their own library cards. From now on, Bunny and his friends can borrow books (and bring them back!) whenever they want. The story ends with Bunny selecting a book for his very own book club. Now the forest friends can sit and read together in Bunny’s snuggly burrow.
These forest critters are ready to read, and adore exploring the world of books just like children. What an excellent message about reading and friendship, as well as returning the books you borrowed on time. Annie Silvestro’s debut picture book is adorably sweet and perfectly paced. There’s a bit of adventure – will Bunny get in trouble? But overall the story is low-stress and comforting for reading just before bed. Silvestro has an ear for lyrical prose, pulling young readers in to a fantastical world of literate and very sneaky animals.
Tatjana Mai-Wyss’ water color illustrations are as warm and inviting as the story. Each page is full of detail that children will love to point out. The animals are artfully rendered with a loving hand. Bunny’s enormous doe eyes and stylishly long ears make him an instant favorite.
The human characters are perfectly diverse. The librarian is African American, and the children are a mix of races and genders. Silvestro and Mai-Wyss pay careful attention to representation, and pull it off well.
The pages are classically matte, and the cover features a bold matte and spot-gloss finish that really pops on the shelf. My favorite detail was the retro touch of an old-fashioned library book-pocket on the inside cover.