AMELIA IS A VERY BIG BUNNY. At recess, the other bunnies tell her that her feet are too long for hopscotch, they say she’s too tall to jump rope, and of course, no one will get on the seesaw with her. Amelia is a very big and lonely bunny. But when a new very small bunny named Susannah arrives in the classroom, something amazing happens. Readers will delight as they watch Amelia transform from a shy bunny into a confident friend. From author-illustrator Marisabina Russo comes an...
AMELIA IS A VERY BIG BUNNY. At recess, the other bunnies tell her that her feet are too long for hopscotch, they say she’s too tall to jump rope, and of course, no one will get on the seesaw with her. Amelia is a very big and lonely
bunny. But when a new very small bunny named Susannah arrives in the classroom, something amazing happens. Readers will delight as they watch Amelia transform from a shy bunny into a confident friend. From author-illustrator Marisabina Russo comes an endearing tale that celebrates the power of friendship and the fun of standing out in a crowd. With lively accessible artwork, here is the perfect book for every little bunny who worries about fitting in.
Russo's tale about unlikely friends executes a familiar theme with abundant charm and humor. Lanky Amelia, who closely resembles the bunnies in Russo's The Bunnies Are Not in Their Beds, towers over her classmates, which presents problems on the playground. Fellow students won't swing the jump rope high enough for Amelia; her feet are too big for hopscotch; and “the seesaw was out of the question.” When tiny Susannah joins the class, the others dismiss her as too small, and she turns to Amelia for company. But Amelia stubbornly resists the newcomer's overtures, until Susannah devises a plan to salvage dreaded school picture day. She and Amelia don funky homemade tiaras and jewelry, and they bond for good (even solving the seesaw conundrum). Featuring a saturated palate, Russo's matte gouache illustrations amplify the snappy storytelling (Susannah's innate spunkiness comes through as she hangs from a chain link fence, contrasting with Amelia's hunched surliness and pencil-thin frown). These and other wry flourishes—like the pairs of bunny ears protruding from behind a bush as the friends get fancy—should generate smiles. Ages 4–8. (Jan.)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—Amelia is self-conscious about her height, and her classmates reinforce her feelings of being different by refusing to play with her. She is alone on the playground until Susannah, a new student who is very short and also unpopular because of height, tries to befriend her. Amelia remains stand-offish until news of an upcoming Picture Day (with the teacher's admonition, "I expect you to look your very best!") throws her into a funk. It is Susannah who comes to her rescue with a self-esteem-boosting secret that has the two bunnies sashaying in, bedecked in necklaces, and fancied up from ear to toe with homemade doodads. The duo realize their differences really don't matter and become fast friends. Russo's characteristic childlike gouache art serves the story well, and the bunnies' ears help to express a range of emotions all their own. The tale will resonate especially with youngsters who feel left out.—Marge Loch-Wouters, La Crosse Public Library, WI
It's hard being the biggest bunny in class. Always last in line and too tall for schoolyard games, Amelia spends her days alone by the fence "counting clouds," "listening to the wind" and "thinking about important things." Then, a new rabbit joins her homeroom. Through parallel storytelling, readers find that Susannah, a "peanut" of a hare, is also rejected for her size. Intrepidly, the "pip-squeak" heads for Amelia, who refuses to interact with the charmingly persistent Susannah. But when Miss Arugula announces Picture Day, the little rabbit cooks up a top-secret plan. Together the two outcasts dazzle their schoolmates, and a friendship blooms. The gouache paintings have a well-organized and pleasing structure. At times Russo uses the bunnies' ears as arrows, guiding readers' eyes across the page, while in other instances Amelia's ears signal her emotional state. A vibrant, primary palette done in construction-paper hues will have a warm familiarity for readers young and old. Readers will fall for feisty Susannah's innocent determination and relate to Amelia's self-conscious hesitancy. This tale proves there's room for one more opposites-attract book on the shelf. (Picture book. 4-8)
- Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Amelia, a very tall anthropomorphic bunny, is not happy. She always has to be last in line at school. The other bunnies won't play with her because she is too big. What's more, "the seesaw was out of the question." It is only on her lonely walk home from school that Amelia doesn't feel too big. Then, one day, a new classmate named Susannah arrives. She is a very small bunny, too small to be invited to play with the others. She tries to join Amelia by the fence, but Amelia is not interested in being friends. Finally, the two are brought together by Picture Day. At first, Amelia doesn't want to go to school, since the children may make fun of her. But with Susannah's help, the two of them manage to look so outstanding for their pictures that their size doesn't matter at all. A lesson on prejudices is told quietly in the pages of this book. On the dark blue front end pages, Amelia stands all alone. On the back, the page color has warmed and she and Susannah dance happily together. In large, lightly detailed scenes and smaller vignettes, Russo uses flatly painted gouache and a range of colors to neatly define the school and yard while involving us in the story. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Marisabina Russo is the author and illustrator of numerous books for children, including The Line Up Book, which won the International Reading Association Award; Come Back, Hannah!, which was named a Charlotte Zolotow Highly Commended book; and most recently, The Bunnies Are Not in Their Beds. She lives in Westchester County, New York.