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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Betty Bunny Wants Everything, written by Michael B. Kaplan and illustrated by Stephane Jorisch. Dial, Penguin. 2012. $18.00 ages 4 and up

"She didn't know what any of these things were or what she might do with them, but she knew that she had to have them. The little bunnies pictured on the boxes looked like they were having the most fun ever. Betty Bunny wanted to have the most fun ever."

Oh, I love Betty Bunny....'she's a handful'!

After falling in love with chocolate cake and amusing us with her fascination for it, I am delighted to find that she has since lost none of her chutzpah for her second story! This time, her visit to a toy store with the family results in a tirade that seems all too familiar.

The rule is the same for each of the toy and that is it. While her brothers and sister know exactly what they want, Betty has a very tough time deciding. She sets her heart on a little bunny doll before opting for almost everything else she sees, and proceeds to dump each and every item into her own personal shopping cart:

"Betty bunny," her mother tried again, "maybe you don't understand. You can't have all these toys."
"Maybe you don't understand," Betty Bunny said. "I want all these toys."

When the rule is restated, you know what happens. You have been there if you have children! Betty has a meltdown and makes the trip home without ANY toy. Unhappy, you bet!

"Betty Bunny watched as her father walked over and talked to her mother. Betty Bunny hoped that her father was saying: "Stop being so mean ad horrible and yucky and give my little bunny all the toys she wants."

Together, the family works to help Betty understand the mechanics of making a choice. On the next trip, she has her own money and is allowed to spend it in her own way. Young children, however, don't always learn the lessons that we want them to learn, and Betty Bunny is living proof of that adage.

Once again Michael Kaplan allows us inside Betty's family life. The siblings remain real, Betty is intense and egocentric (as young children are), the parents are understanding and patient. The artwork is filled with those many wonderful details that add humor and setting for this lively family story.

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