Review: Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny (Giveaway!)


Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny
by John Himmelman
Published by Henry Holt and Company (October 28, 2014)
Ages 6-8

My Rating: 5 Stars

Review:
A couple of the children in my life are starting to grow into the stage of reading beginning level chapter books, so I was on the lookout for something funny enough to keep a young reader’s attention and smart enough to provide value beyond entertainment. That’s when I saw Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny.

Isabel, the best bunjitsu artist in school, is like a fluffy, long-eared Zen master. She can hit, kick and flip her opponents like no one else, but more often than not she uses her most powerful weapon – her brain – to outsmart pirates, giant waves, enormous rocks and more.

Each chapter is a short, separate tale in the life of Bunjitsu Bunny. The stories each have a particular moral that will be evident to an adult reader, but the lessons are delivered with humor and authenticity. The stories carry the weight of their lessons with ease, so the reader isn’t beaten over the head.

The first tale, after we’re introduced to Isabel, shows her using her smarts instead of her fists. When the students are confronted by a locked door, they try to kick it down and punch it down. They are about to head butt it down when Isabel unlocks the door from the other side. She had climbed through an open window. Most of the stories after this one are a little more complex, but it is a good taste of the types of lessons to come.

Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny is just the first installment of adventures. The follow-up, Bunjitsu Bunny’s Best Move, was released this past October.

Giveaway! [Update: This giveaway has ended. Look for more giveaways in future posts!]
Some books are too good not to be shared, so I’m giving away 2 copies of Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny through an Amazon giveaway. All you have to do for your chance to win is click here and follow me on Twitter. Good luck everyone!

FTC Required Disclosure: This blog features Amazon Associate links, including linked images. Purchases made through these affiliate links will result in a my receiving a small commission. This applies to all products purchased at Amazon through the link, regardless of whether or not I’ve mentioned the product on this blog.

 

Review: Little Tree


Little Tree
by Loren Long
Published by Philomel Books, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) (October 27, 2015)
Ages 5-8

My Rating: 4 Stars

Review:
Change is hard – especially when you’re little. There’s no telling what will happen when we let go of what we know and what we’re comfortable with. The unknown is terrifying.

Little Tree by Loren Long is a fable about having the courage to let go in order to grow. In the beginning, Little Tree is surrounded by other trees just like him – young with green leaves. The squirrels and the birds play in his branches. Autumn arrives and it’s time to drop his leaves, but Little Tree holds on to them because he’s afraid of what might happen. Season after season, the animals of the forest do their best to convince Little Tree to drop his leaves. They try to reason with him and encourage him, but Little Tree is too afraid. When Little Tree realizes that all of the trees around him have grown much taller and he can no longer hear the birds singing or feel the sunlight, he finally gathers up the courage to drop his leaves. It isn’t easy – it’s the middle of winter and it’s cold. But, spring arrives and Little Tree starts to grow.

The moral of this sweet story is sure to be appreciated by many adults, since it’s something we grapple with throughout our lives. The story could almost be told entirely by the illustrations. They’re simple and appealing, yet highly emotive. The changing of the seasons and what Little Tree is experiencing are both quite clear, as is the concern of the forest animals.

The final line of the story may be a little confusing to young listeners/readers. The reuse of the very first words of the story requires a true understanding of the contextual meanings of the word “once.” This isn’t just a story that happened sometime in the past. Little Tree is no longer what he once was. This subtle wordplay can obviously be explained by the adult reader, but it is still a bit jarring. It brought my mind back to the beginning of the story, which is not where I wanted to be. I would have rather stayed in the emotional sweet spot of seeing Little Tree all grown up.

Also, if you’re looking for a book about the changes of the season, this book is not for you. There are obvious scientific inconsistencies, and that is because it is a fable, not a work of non-fiction.

Overall, the illustrations make Little Tree an enjoyable story. And, it’s a good story to have around as a reminder for everyone in your family that change and growth can be difficult, but they’re worth it.

FTC Required Disclosure: This blog features Amazon Associate links, including linked images. Purchases made through these affiliate links will result in a my receiving a small commission. This applies to all products purchased at Amazon through the link, regardless of whether or not I’ve mentioned the product on this blog.