Friday, November 20, 2009
Emmaline and the Bunny, written by Katherine Hannigan. Greenwillow, HarperCollins. 2009. $15.99 ages 6 and up
"Emmaline lived on Shipshape Street in a town named Neatasapin. It was a very tidy place. Very tidy people lived in very tidy houses with very tidy yards. Even the babies were tidy, mostly.
Orson Oliphant was Mayor of Neatasapin. He was bulky and bad-tempered."
In this quiet fantasy, with its short chapters and appealing illustrations we meet Emmaline, a young girl who wants a bunny so badly that she cannot imagine her life without it. Unfortunately, Emmaline lives in Neatasapin, a community that has no acceptance for those who do not adhere to the rules set forward for all who live there…tidiness rules, children should be silent and without fault, all houses daily endure a new regimen of spit and polish. Everyone is dominated by the fastidious mayor, Orson Oliphant, and no one contests what has been proclaimed. Emmaline just does not fit that mold. Loneliness is her constant companion as no one wants to march to her different drummer. All the loneliness dissipates when she spots a bunny who claims her love and allegiance. When the bunny is lost, she is distraught. But, she soon finds it again and her love begins to change her parents, and the townspeople. It is the unusual and imaginative language that makes me want to read this story again and to share it in any early years classroom.