Sunday, November 22, 2020

Some Bunny to Love

Shusterman, Michelle. Some Bunny to Love
January 5th 2021 by Scholastic Inc.
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Laura's family owns a small bodega in a closeknit neighborhood near Harlem. She has a lot of social anxiety, so doesn't necessarily like to interact with customers a lot, and while she loves reading, doesn't want to join a book club at a nearby store. She takes a lot of comfort in her pet bunny, Evie, who is also very skittish about humans, even though she hangs out in the store in the same way that cats sometimes are present in various businesses. When Laura's family has to travel to a family wedding, a friend and volunteer at the local animal shelter volunteers to watch Evie. When Evie is given the tour of the apartment by the woman's cat, she is told that Laura will never come back. Evie escapes into Manhattan, but nearly comes to grief in traffic. She is rescued by Bart, a former show dog who has run away from his controlling owner, Bitsy, and is enjoying life on the street. He assumes that Evie has run away because she also wants to be free, and starts to show her all the highlights of life in the wild. When he realizes that Evie really wants to go home, he offers to take her in exchange for a service-- she will steal a collar from a pet store so that the local animal control agents will stop trying to capture him. The two are photographed, and people post their antics on social media under #BunnyandCanine. Laura sees these and starts to worry. When checking with the friend, the family finds out that Evie has in fact run away. As the two animals make their way to the Bodega, they have all manner of challenges. Laura checks on their progress and even offers tips to followers on how to catch Evie. When Bart sees Bitsy in the park, and Evie takes a diamond necklace she has dropped, the two start to worry that things will not end well. Will Evie be able to get home to be with her beloved Laura, and will Bart be able to continue his carefree life on his own?
Strengths: Much is made of Laura and Evie's anxiety, so it was nice to see that Laura was able to manage hers while with cousins, and Evie actual became much more daring during her adventures. There was a certain Disney movie quality to this-- I could just imagine the CGI images of the animals talking to one another, especially in a charming scene where Bart and Evie sneak onto the subway, then hide in a bag at someone's feet, but are soon discovered. The tie in with social media will resonate with middle grade readers who spend much more time on Instagram than they should, and the animal's adventure is quite fun. The adult villains, like Bitsy and the animal control agent, are used to good effect. This would be a great title to recommend during Scholastic Book Fairs, and the cover is adorable. 
Weaknesses:Older readers will have to suspend a lot of disbelief, while younger ones will be perfectly willing to believe that Evie and Bart get along, that Bart can get Evie back home, and that Laura suddenly has thousands of followers on Instagram and can identify Evie. My enjoyment of the adventure was overshadowed by disbelief, but that is because I am old. I would have enjoyed it more if it had been a younger dog who was lost. 
What I really think: I would buy this if it were in hard back, since it would be popular with readers of animal adventure books like Pyron's A Pup Called Trouble, but am not sure about buying a prebind copy. 
Ms. Yingling

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