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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The Bunny Band, written by Bill Richardson and illustrated by Roxanna Bikadoroff. Groundwood, 2018. $16.95 ages 4 and up

"Lavinia watched, astonished,
as the silent, silvery moon
shone its light on mandolins,
on banjos and bassoons,
on harps and ukuleles -
it was bright, as bright as day -
trumpets, bagpipes, fifes and drums,
the band began to play.

Their music was enchanting,
not a clamor, nor a din ... "

Lavinia is a vegetable-loving badger, not impressed when she wakes one morning to mayhem in her garden. The spuds and beans are gone. She knows just what she needs to do: set a trap to catch the thief! It works. Out she goes to confront the intruder, and finds a frightened white bunny. Rabbit stew is on her mind when the tiny bunny pleads for leniency, with a promise to reward her for his release.

"I'm not your basic bunny.
I've got magic up my sleeve.
And I will help your garden grow,
if you'll just let me leave."

Has Lavinia been duped? Will the bunny return as promised? Lavinia cannot be sure; and she cannot sleep. So, she climbs into a nearby tree and waits. What a surprise when he returns with a bona fide bunny band! The talent is exceptional, the instruments many, and the music magical indeed. They leave at dawn and return at dusk, keeping the little one's promise.

"That bunny kept his promises -
her garden grew and grew.
Their serenade, enchanted, made
her onions huge, like moose.
Zucchinis, far from weeny,
were the size of a caboose."

It's a bounteous season for Lavinia, with a grand reward for the bunny band who promise to return in the spring.

Kids will enjoy the lilting rhymes of this happy story; it is well told. They will be particularly interested in detailed illustrations that bring life to Lavinia's home and garden, and the bunny band itself. Awash with light and shadow, the images created fill every delightful double page spread.

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