Bunnies on Ice

illus. by author. 32p. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter. 2013. RTE $16.99. ISBN 978-1-59643-404-2. LC 2012001187.
RedReviewStarPreS-Gr 1—This budding champion (a white snow bunny) loves to ice skate so much that she patiently waits for perfect conditions. When the other bunnies are doing summer things, she is planning what she will do when the snow falls. She proceeds to wait through the fall as she dresses her scarecrow with a pair of skates. Then when the snow arrives and the conditions seem right, she heads for the ice with her family as her support team. She boasts about all the maneuvers she hasn't quite perfected yet, all while proclaiming her champion status. After a rigorous workout of not-so-perfect figure eights and leaps, she rewards herself with après skate indulgences, including hot chocolate, toasted marshmallows, and a warm bath. After her busy day, this little bunny goes to bed, ready to try again tomorrow. Wright has created a charming and determined character. The youngster's fortitude and enthusiasm are admirable even if she isn't as accomplished as she makes out to be. The dark-outlined illustrations are painted in soft hues. This sweet story about a bunny who is determined to follow her dream is a great addition.—Diane Antezzo, Ridgefield Library, CT
All year, the narrator -- a young bunny with a penchant for pink and polka dots -- longs for ice-skating time. While her family goes for a swim, she glides a doll along an inner-tube's surface. While the others harvest pumpkins and rake leaves, she adds skates to a scarecrow's ensemble. Finally, it's winter: she heads for the now-frozen pond, proclaiming that she is a champion ice-skater and detailing for the reader what it's like to be one: "I have a lot of fans"; "I can do a figure eight with my eyes closed." The illustrations paint a far more realistic picture: her fans are her parents and younger sibling (plus a multitude of perched birds), and the messy shape she inscribes on the ice is hardly a figure eight. Back at home, the narrator explains the importance of a balanced diet (toasted marshmallows) and keeping one's muscles loose (playing in a bubble bath). Bedtime brings a determination to "try again tomorrow." Throughout, Wright maintains a consistently childlike point of view, capturing the intensity of childhood obsession as well as her character's persistent optimism. The little skater may be an unreliable narrator, but she is totally sincere, believing wholeheartedly in her assertions and having a wonderful time. The full-bleed color-saturated illustrations, with their almost palpable texture, will pull readers in to the bunny's small world. And the cool palette -- whites and grays, mint greens and light pinks -- of the outside scenes makes the warm, darker indoor scenes that much more cozy. martha v. parravano

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