McLeod, Elizabeth. Bunny the Brave War Horse. Tonawanda: Kids Can Press, 2014. 978-1-77138-024-9. $16.95. 32 pages. Grade 2-5.
This picture book is a great tribute to the brave, hard working animals that assisted the army throughout the First World War. Bunny is a police horse who gets “drafted” to be a mount for a soldier. Tom and Bud are brothers who enter the war together. Bunny faithfully carries Bud through poison gas attacks and gunfire. He bravely works to free a cart before the enemy overtakes them. When Bud is killed in battle, Tom takes comfort with Bunny and they become a team. Tom vows to honor Bud’s memory and do his best with Bunny as his partner. Together they earn many medals, and Bunny is the only horse from the group to survive the war. He is sold to a farmer in Belgium and Tom returns home. This could be a great addition to a unit on service animals or animals used by soldiers during war time, or even a history lesson about World War I. The stories of war and the fact that Bunny and his rider part ways at the end make it a book for a slightly more mature crowd.
Picture Book (Based on a True Story) Donna Fernandez, Calvary Christian Academy
Frazee, Marla. The Farmer and the Clown. New York: Beach Lane, 2014. 978-1-4424-9744-3. 32p. $17.99. Gr. PK-2.
Frazee brings us a beautifully quiet tale of finding comfort and love in unexpected places. A farmer grimly working his field sees the circus train in the distance, and is startled to see a member of the troupe fall off the back of the caravan. Even more surprising: it’s a toddler clown! The formerly grouchy-looking farmer shows us a different side as he cares for this lonely little visitor, and the child in turn, teaches the lonely farmer a thing or two. Told in exquisite illustration, this wordless picture book is bound to delight readers of all ages. Frazee’s won acclaim for this book, to date: named to Best Books of 2014 lists by SLJ, Publishers Weekly, Horn Book and Kirkus. WHY did it not a Caldecott honor or medal???!!
Picture Book (wordless) Kathie Jackson, Plymouth Meeting Friends School
Rosenthal, Krouse Amy. Uni the Unicorn. New York: Random House, 2014. 978-0-385-37555-9. 40 p. $17.99. Gr. PreK-2.
Uni is a unicorn, like any you might imagine. Magnificent mane and golden hooves? Check. Purple eyes and a magical, swirly horn? Check and check. Uni is not only on par with your average unicorn, Uni is in fact, slightly more amazing in almost every way! Really, the only thing holding Uni back is the very small problem of, well, believing in girls. You heard that right, folks. Uni the unicorn actually believes that little girls are real. Not only that, she believes that she will meet a little girl some day soon and become best friends with her. All of the other unicorns in Uni’s life assure her that little girls are just make-believe, but this does not deter our steadfast protagonist who knows that a loving and REAL little girl is out there, just waiting to be best friends.
I cannot wait to get this book into my library, although I know it will not stay on the shelves for very long. I get requests for unicorn books multiple times a week and this will certainly be a welcome addition. Also, it’s not just a filler unicorn book. You know the kind, any old book on a popular topic to keep the children happy. Not this book. This one is a whimsical, darling story with amazing illustrations to boot, which happens to have a unicorn as a central character. This one is a keeper!
Picture Book Lisa Naylor, Concord Elementary