Hot Off the Press: Uh-Oh, Bunny & No, No, Bunny
First off, I would like to thank WorthyKids/Ideals for asking me to review two new publications -- Uh-Oh Bunny and No, No Bunny -- written by Pamela Kennedy and illustrated by Claire Keay. I enjoyed reading through both books and hope this review will be useful to parents.
I'd like to start off with Uh-Oh, Bunny which focuses on the concept of lying. In the book, Bunny gets into all kinds of mischief around the house: coloring on the walls, knocking over a plant, and tearing pages out of a book. When his mother finds the mess, Bunny tells the truth---that he colored on the walls, knocked over the plant, and tore the pages out of the book. Bunny and his mother then wipe the walls, pick up the plant, and tape the pages of the book back together before embracing in a loving hug. Bunny's mother is proud of him for being honest about what he had done.
While I'm not entirely convinced that a child of board book reading age (usually 0-3) would understand the message about being truthful, I saw my two-year-old undoubtably connect with the idea that you shouldn't draw on the walls, knock plants over, or tear pages out of books. The repetition of the phrase "Uh-oh bunny" was also the source of much laughter for our son as he giggled about the silly, mischievous bunny.
For parents trying to show their children what not to do around the house, this is a book for you. As for encouraging your child to tell the truth, the book may at least give children the vocabulary to answer a parent's question honestly with an "I did Mama." But as to whether or not the child realizes that lying is wrong or not, is questionable.
In No, No Bunny the theme is stealing. Bunny takes pennies from Mama's purse, a friend's toy car, and a candy from the store. All of these actions are shown to the reader followed by a "No, no Bunny."
Bunny then goes home and "Feels scared and sad inside. Should he keep them?" The answer is, "No, no Bunny." Bunny then returns all of the items and says to his mother that he doesn't want to take things anymore.
On the one hand, you have to applaud the publisher for recognizing the need for books that encourage good character and behavior, but on the other hand, the concept of stealing is not age appropriate for a board book. Again, board books are generally (with some exceptions) meant for children in the 0-3 range. And while toddlers are perfectly capable of accepting (however hard it may be) that if something isn't theirs they need to give it back, it does not mean that a child in the 0-3 range will be able to understand a book about it.
All-in-all, I was a bit disappointed with No, No Bunny as a board book (and unfortunately I'd still be disappointed with it as a paperback since the text is far too simple for a child over 3). However, every family has different concepts that they find particularly important and if your toddler is ready to listen to a book about lying and stealing, then these two books provide a nice intro to both concepts.