Vaunda Micheaux Nelson

Levity: Bunny and Clyde

Spring is here, and I’m feeling light and happy.  I’m reminded of my resolution to seek more levity—more good, clean fun.

The work of Megan McDonald never fails to give me a lift.  Her Judy Moody and Stink books have brought readers much joy.  Happily, McDonald has begun a wonderful new series that is full of the fun and silliness that epitomizes levity.

A rabbit named Bunny Elizabeth Parker and her best buddy, chipmunk Clyde Chestnut Wheelbarrow, have always followed the rules, raised their hands, said “please” and “thank you”, and kept their burps to themselves.  In Bunny and Clyde, they decide they are tired of being good.  They want to be bad for a change. “Bad to the bone.” “Rotten to the core.”  The trouble is, they are completely clueless about how to misbehave.  There is a marvelous sweetness to this. 

Realizing they need information, the wanna-be outlaws head to the library.  They avoid books that include words like “love” and “hugs” and pictures of unicorns and rainbows.  Instead they read Interrupting Chicken, The Tale of Two Bad Mice, and Bad Kitty.  After boning up on badness, the duo goes on a hilarious “crime” spree at Bunny’s house — shelving books in un-alphabetical order, drinking milk right out of the carton, raiding Maw-Maw’s stash of penny candy.  Then they create a secret hideout and plan more mischief.

To their frustration, their bad deeds always seem to turn out good.  They yank up Darby the squirrel’s yellow flowers, only to find the blooms are dandelions Darby is grateful to be rid of.  After dark, they wrap Thornton the possum’s rosebushes with toilet paper.  But Thornton is thrilled because his prize-winning flowers were protected from the overnight frost.  Further pranks have the same ‘disappointing’ result.

Bunny and Clyde, with spot-on illustrations by Scott Nash, will keep you laughing and groaning at painfully clever puns.  It is a delightful dose of levity.  Thank you, Megan.

I can’t wait to discover what Bunny and Clyde will get up to in future books.  As Clyde says, “The sky’s the limit!”  In the meantime, one thing is certain.  In spite of their attempts at badness, these two bosom friends are good through and through.

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Also “new” from Megan McDonald is a lovely reissue of her first book, Is This A House for Hermit Crab?  Newly illustrated by Katherine Tillotson, Hermit Crab was a favorite for storytime kids in my children’s librarian years.  I’m thrilled it’s getting a new life.