I can never resist cute little bunnies—and the cuddly mishap-prone bunnies in Tao Nyeu’s Bunny Days are awfully darn cute. This whimsical, gently humorous picture book is actually a series of three short stories featuring six adorable bunnies, a goat farmer and his wife, and a resourceful bear who first appeared in Wonder Bear (Nyeu’s delightful 2008 debut book).
In the first story in Bunny Days, the bunnies are “soaking up the sun,” minding their own business, when Mr. Goat drives by in his tractor and splashes them with mud. When the bunnies turn to Bear for help, he happens to have a washing machine in the middle of the field. The muddy bunnies are placed in the machine (delicate cycle, of course) and hung out to dry. After a day and night of hanging on the clothesline, “the bunnies are ready for a brand-new adventure.” The two other stories follow a similar silly pattern: The bunnies are peacefully sleeping in their burrow when Mrs. Goat vacuums them up (don’t ask why she’s vacuuming in the middle of the field) and Mr. Goat accidently clips off the poor bunnies’ tails while tending to his garden. In each case, Bear comes to the rescue (with a giant fan that blows the dust off the bunnies and a sewing machine to stitch the fluffy tails back on). Upon conclusion, each story ends with the cheerful, satisfying sentence: “Everyone is happy.”
The simple text and fun sounds like “swish, swash, swish swash” of the washer and “zumm-zumm-zumm-zumm” of the sewing machine make this a fun book to read aloud. I love the silly dilemmas and the even sillier solutions (I’m betting little kids will too). And the illustrations (silkscreened artwork using water-based ink) are utterly enchanting. The bunnies, in particular, have such expressive body language you don’t need a lot of words to know exactly what’s going on.
Speaking of few words, if you like Nyeu’s artwork and her whimsical sensibility, check out her first book, Wonder Bear. In this wordless book, a girl and a boy plant a mysterious “hat” seed and while they sleep, a wondrous plant grows and bears fruit—literally, a bear with a magical top hat. The bear takes the children on a fantastical trip with playful monkeys, all sorts of sea creatures, and lions made out of bubbles and then tucks them in again for the night. This is a beautiful, imaginative book for little ones who love going on visual journeys.
Are you familiar with Tao Nyeu’s books? What do you think of them? Do her books remind you of other authors or illustrators?