A Hop Toward Independence

By Ronna Mandel

Positive Parenting Betty Bunny BookIn “Betty Bunny Loves Easter,” by local author Michael B. Kaplan (Dial Books for Young Readers), the title character is a handful, bursting with energy and excitement. This determined and boisterous bunny refuses to let her family quell her joy over the Easter holiday, which is the very next day. Her dream is to grow up to be the Easter Bunny, delivering baskets full of candy and toys not just on Easter, but every day of the year.

At the Easter egg hunt, Betty Bunny realizes her brothers and sister are helping her by dropping eggs into her basket. They have been for years without Betty’s knowledge. “I can find the eggs by myself,” she insists. Her eagerness soon turns to disappointment because, while other kids around her keep finding eggs, she finds only one.

Betty feels shattered until her parents — in a rabbit display of positive parenting — reassure her, noting that she is growing up and doesn’t require anyone’s help, and explaining that eggs found by herself will mean so much more than eggs that someone else gives her.

Spirits lifted, Betty Bunny hunts for more eggs and before long uncovers three all on her own. It’s only when this precocious, over-confident bunny is caught searching through her mom’s handbag without asking that we understand that for this particular bunny (and maybe yours), clear limits need to be set. “That is not okay,” Betty Bunny’s mom tells her. “You need to ask me.” Kaplan’s book provides a jumping-off point for discussing what is and isn’t appropriate when children take expressions like “doing it by yourself” a bit too literally!

Illustrator Stéphane Jorisch’s jewel-toned watercolors convey an exuberance that complements Betty Bunny’s personality and Kaplan’s humorous tone, making this an enjoyable read-aloud for ages 3-5.

Kaplan will read and sign “Betty Bunny Loves Easter” April 4 at Children’s Book World. See our Calendar section for details. Find more reviews of children’s books on the “Good Reads With Ronna” blog at www.goodreadswithronna.com.

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