CM . . .
. Volume XIX Number 1. . . .September 7, 2012
Betty Bunny Wants Everything.
Michael B. Kaplan. Illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch.
New York, NY: Dial Books for Young Readers (Distributed in Canada by Penguin Group Canada), 2012.
32 pp., hardcover, $18.00.
Preschool-grade 1 / Ages 3-6.
Review by Trevor Lockhart.
"Betty Bunny," her mother tried again, "maybe you don't understand. You can't have all these toys."
"Maybe you don't understand," Betty Bunny said. "I want all these toys."
"You can't have everything you want," said Kate.
"But I want everything I want," Betty Bunny said.
In the follow up to Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake, readers see that Betty Bunny is still a handful. It's not just Betty Bunny's family that notices her behaviour now as complete strangers in the mall come up to Betty Bunny's mom and tell her. The problem is that Betty Bunny thinks this is a compliment.
In this second book in the series authored by Michael Kaplan and illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch, Betty Bunny and her family go to the mall. The kids are told by their mom that they can each pick out one toy from the store. Betty Bunny's siblings dutifully follow directions (although the oldest sibling asks for the cash instead), but, of course, Betty doesn't follow directions. She picks out a little toy bunny that she names "Little Betty." but before her mother can turn around, Betty has filled the cart with a huge assortment of impulse buys. Betty Bunny's mom is not impressed, and she gives Betty a choice. She can choose one toy, or she gets no toys. Betty has a tantrum in the store and learns the hard way that her mom means business. Upon arriving home with no toy, Betty continues to cry until her father gets home from work.
Betty's parents come up with a plan that is supposed to teach Betty the value of money and how you can't always get everything you want. They give Betty a small amount of money that she can spend on anything she wants, but when the money is gone, it's gone. The parents think that Betty is about to learn a valuable lesson on spending money, but, of course, this is Betty Bunny we're talking about, and, in the end, we see that Betty has one more trick up her sleeve as she tries a clever way to get everything she wants.
Michael Kaplan's story picks up where Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake concluded. Although Betty's first adventure involved a larger cast of characters (siblings, parents, school teachers, classmates), this story is primarily a battle of wills between Betty and her parents. Betty's parents are trying to teach Betty another lesson, and just when it seems like it's all going according to plan, readers find out that, once again, Betty has other ideas. Kids will love how resourceful and clever Betty Bunny seems to be, but parents may be a bit concerned that kids will emulate Betty's precociousness rather than see the story as a teaching tool. I can see many parents wanting to talk about Betty's behaviour after reading this book with their children just to make sure it's clear that Betty's actions are not being absorbed in a positive light. Maybe it's time for Betty's parents to try Ritalin?
Stéphane Jorisch's bright watercolours suit the playful nature of the story. Every page teems with action, and he does a wonderful job of capturing expressions on all the characters' faces.
Trevor Lockhart is a public librarian in Winnipeg, MB.
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