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Friday, February 22, 2013

Big Mean Mike, written by Michelle Knudsen and illustrated by Scott Magoon. Candlewick Press, Random House. 2012. $19.00 ages 3 and up

"On Wednesday, Mike got in his car to drive to the gym. He opened up the glove compartment to get out his gym pass. But when he reached inside for the shiny plastic card, he felt something else instead.  Something...soft.  Something...cuddly.  He leaned over to peer inside."

Mike is a macho guy. Well, he's a macho dog who sports a spiked collar, bushy eyebrows, combat boots and crossed bones emblems on his jacket and keychain. He's rough. He's tough. He drives a car that proves it! It sports sharp teeth on its grille and red flames on its sides. Everyone recognizes them both.

Then one day, he opens his trunk to find a teensy weensy bundle of fluff. It's white and quiet and much too precious for a big, mean varmint like Mike. The two have nothing in common, and Mike wants nothing to do with the charmer. It keeps happening, and soon there are more bunnies. They are going to ruin his reputation. The bunnies are saddened by his rush to ignore them. But, he has a good reason:

"Big, tough dogs do not hang around with tiny, fuzzy bunnies, okay?
So beat it. Scram. And don't come back!
Mike found excuses not to use his car for a few days."

Checking his car before hopping in to head out to the Monster Truck Show, all seems fine. No bunnies. Once there, he's in for a real surprise. Four bunnies emerge from under the seat, and they don't heed his warming to get out of the car.  It is then that Mike notices how sweet they are...oh my gosh, what is he thinking?

He has a change of heart and can't let them wait in the car while he attends the show. They might be in danger! So, he hides them in his gym bag and takes them in with him. As little, cute, fuzzy bunnies are wont to do, they worm their way into his heart and it doesn't take long for Mike to jump to their defence:

"Slowly, he smiled a big, mean smile. They he looked back at the other dogs. "You know what?" Mike told them. "I don't care what you think. I'm Big Mean Mike! I can hang out with whoever I want! I like these bunnies. They know how to have a good time. And they're adorable."

I rest my case!

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