- That’s Not Bunny!
- written by Chris Barton
- illustrated by Colin Jack
- published by Disney Hyperion (2016)
- Roar Score: 4/5
There are some picture books you pick up and reread for the story. They have powerful lessons or morals, or they reach you on a personal level. There are other picture books you pick up and reread because of the art.
That’s Not Bunny! is one of the latter. The fact that it’s tons o’ fun to read aloud is also a mark in its favor.
Hawk, in his little waistcoat and stylish hat, is hungry.The ever-present smirk on his face should be a dead giveaway. He’s already spied his prize – a little bunny making his way home – but he’s not exactly the most…skillful hunter.
Whenever he swoops down to grab his prey, he instead winds up with whatever vegetable the bunny is holding. And pretty soon, he has the makings of a halfway decent salad.
But that’s not what he wants. Not at all. No self-respecting hawk would be caught eating a salad. Come on, now.
Like I said, the story is fun to read aloud since the hawk makes a pretty big deal about swooping down on his prey. You can add lots of fun sound effects to his attack run, and then I like to add a pathetic, agonizing scream in response to the healthy veggies he carries off.
Colin Jack’s art, though, is the highlight here. By day, Jack is a story artist at DreamWorks Animation, so he knows a thing or two about good character design and how to simulate movement on the page.
The hawk and bunny are the only two characters, and there’s very little in the way of environment or background illustrations. A carrot here, a cucumber there, a few trees scattered about. That’s it. But the two characters are so charming, so well designed, that they’re really all you need. They jump off the page.
The book also feels very much like animation. This could easily be an animated short, and if That’s Not Bunny! isn’t already in production – somewhere – as a short, someone’s missing a golden opportunity.
(Disclosure: Disney Hyperion provided me with a review copy of this book. All opinions remain my own.)