________________ CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 9. . . .October 28, 2011


Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake.

Michael B. Kaplan. Illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch.
New York, NY: Dial Books for Young Readers (Distributed in Canada by Penguin Canada), 2011.
32 pp., hardcover, $21.00.
ISBN 978-0-8037-3407-4.

Subject Headings:
Feed habits-Fiction.
Family life-Fiction.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 3-7.

Review by Trevor Lockhart.

**** /4



One day, after a healthy dinner of carrots, potatoes and peas, Mother said, "Who wants dessert? I have chocolate cake." Betty Bunny, who was not very good at trying new things, announced: "I hate chocolate cake. Chocolate cake is yucky. What's chocolate cake?" So her mother gave her a piece. And Betty Bunny tried it. It was the yummiest thing she had ever put in her mouth. "When I grow up, I am going to marry chocolate cake!" said Betty Bunny.


Betty Bunny is a handful. She is a picky eater and does not like to try new things. But one day after supper, she tries chocolate cake for the first time and falls in love with it. All she can think about is eating chocolate cake, and this has consequences for her siblings, parents and teachers. The next day at school, Betty tries to make chocolate cake out of the mud on the playground, but somehow it doesn't taste as good to her. Betty Betty's mother tries to teach Betty patience by telling her that she cannot have chocolate cake until she eats a healthy supper first. Instead, Betty starts a food fight with her siblings and is sent to her room. Later, Mother promises to save Betty a piece of cake so that she can have it the next day after a healthy supper. The following day, Betty can't bear to leave her piece of chocolate cake all alone, and she stuffs it into her pocket to take to school with her. At dessert time that day, Betty discovers that her piece of cake is just a "brown goopy mess." Betty promises that she finally understands what being patient is all about, but the last page of the book suggests otherwise.

     Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake is a fun story that kids will love. Michael Kaplan has an expressive style and is able to write natural sounding dialogue between Betty and her siblings, parents and teacher. The book would be a good choice to read aloud one on one, although it might be a little lengthy for a larger group to sit through. While it does bring up the themes of picky eating, patience, obedience and family life, it is unclear whether any lessons are actually learned by the main character. Betty Bunny is irrepressible and would be in good company alongside Ian Falconer's "Olivia." I hope that Michael Kaplan writes more stories about this little handful of a rabbit.

      Stéphane Jorisch's lively water-colour illustrations are an indispensable component of this great book. Jorisch is able to capture the personalities of all the characters, and each illustration feels alive with energy, perfectly matching the energy given off by the main character.

Highly Recommended.

Trevor Lockhart is a librarian who works at the Louis Riel Public Library in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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