CM . . . .
Volume V Number 2 . . . . September 18, 1998
When the Dumb Bunnies returned, they knew something was not right.Guaranteed to bring a smile to readers' faces, these books, according to the "seal" on their front covers, are "TOO DUMB to win an award." Consider yourself warned!
The Dumb Bunnies is a spoof of The Three Bears story. While the bunny family waits for their porridge to be just right, they drive into town, go ice-skating at the bottom of the lake, bowl a home run at the public library and have a picnic lunch at the car wash. When they return to their log cabin made of bricks, they find that Little Red Goldilocks has made a mess of their house. Even so, they absolutely adore her, so much so that they dance for her, sing for her, and, to cap it off, flush her down the toilet.
The Dumb Bunnies' Easter offers more of the same zaniness.
It was December 24th and the Dumb Bunnies were getting ready for Easter.At the Dumb Bunnies' house, Easter is a wacky combination of Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day and, naturally, Easter. Reminiscent of Amelia Bedelia's literal interpretation of her employers' instructions, the Dumb Bunnies' Easter preparations are well-intentioned but meet with hilarious results. These harebrained hares carve the turkey into a jack-o-lantern, toss the salad, bowl and all, and paint the Easter eggs with black spray paint. While they sleep, the Easter Bunny, in a red minivan pulled by eight flying pilgrims, drops decorated eggs [raw of course] down the chimney.
The Dumb Bunnies' Easter is the easier of the two stories for young children to understand and appreciate. Its humour is obvious - a Christmas tree put upside down, valentines nailed to a window, rubber boots worn on Baby Bunny's ears, and, for a big laugh, Poppa Bunny appears in his underwear throughout the book. Text and pictures work in tandem to elicit chuckles.
The humour in The Dumb Bunnies is somewhat more subtle in parts and requires readers to look beyond the obvious. Background details are often funnier, albeit in a different way, than the main storyline and illustration. For example, some of the books displayed in the public library scene are entitled Moby Richard, Charlie and the Carob Factory, and Green Eggs and Tofu. A sign advertises, "Speling Bee - Febuary 30". Older readers will appreciate this type of humour.
Pilkey's cartoon-like illustrations are a combination of brightly coloured foregrounds on pastel backgrounds. The bunny family wears the same silly grins in almost every illustration, reinforcing the fact that, no matter what happens to them, they are just too dumb to grasp the basic concepts of anything.
These books do not pretend to be anything but zany nonsense. Take them for what they are - and enjoy a few laughs along the way.
Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian at Bird's Hill School in East St. Paul, Manitoba.
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