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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Two Bunny Buddies, written by Kathryn O Galbraith and illustrated by Jon Cepeda. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Thomas Allen & Son. 2014. $18.99 ages 2 and up

"Two bunny buddies,
hungry for lunch.

The sun is hot.
The path is long.

"Let's go this way."

"Let's go that way."

They are both pretty stubborn, as you can sense from their demeanor on the front cover. Don't you cross your arms when you are feeling that you are in the right, and  you don't want any opposition? Readers and listeners will surely see how silly some arguments can be.

The two are anticipating some difficulty as they stare off down the long road, aware of the rumbling in their tummies. Backpacks in place, they head off together...until they come to the fork in the road.
That's when the arguing begins:

"THIS way!"
THAT way!"
"Carrot head!"
"Beetle brain!"

Little ones may giggle at the names the two toss at each other. It doesn't take long for the buddies and the audience to realize that being together beats being alone. They have berries and they have clover; it's a perfect picnic for two friends to share. Will they be able to put their differences aside?

The text is 'just right' for emerging readers, and is plotted perfectly for understanding the power of language. There is a lot of action, paired with repetitive and rhyming words, to assure that the simple message is understood even by our youngest listeners.  Jon Cepeda uses bold black outlines for his characters, and spare pastel background colors to keep the focus on the buddies, and their actions. Expressive faces assure that we know exactly how they are feeling as the story moves forward.

In the end we all learn that even naps are more fun when you have a friend to lean on!

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