Thursday, September 9, 2010
Bunny Party and Bunny Cakes
A couple of friends have recommended the Rosemary Wells Max and Ruby books, and one fellow writer went so far as to put Bunny Party and Bunny Cakes in my hands the other day, saying "Read these!"
In case you've not had a chance to explore this series, they are a subtle exploration of sibling rivalry for young kids. My first take on the books was that they were a little too plain vanilla for my taste. They lack the contemporary irony and wink-at-the-parents prose found in popular picture book series like Olivia.
Having a had chance to re-read them, I think that they are a more gentle and delightful take on brothers and sisters learning to share, learning to play together, and yes even care about one another. What's more astonishing from an author's point-of-view is how clever the stories and dialogue are. Writing picture books is an exercise in deliberation and rejection. The author is restricted to words appropriate to 3 - 7 year old kids, and often must keep word count down under the 1,000 mark. From that perspective, Rosemary Wells is a genius at saying so much with so little.
Even more remarkable, and putting aside an adult's take on the books, is that kids really respond to the stories. The books and their characters are very relatable and the illustrations are beautiful. My daughter immediately requested to hear the books again.
One final note, if you're looking for a good book on numbers for kids, Bunny Party is excellent. You'll find yourself counting guests at the party, and the numbers are repeated often, and it'll feel fun instead of a chore. The book encourages kids to chime in and say the numbers or count on their own.