on 28 April 2004
"It's Not Easy Being a Bunny" for P.J. Funnybunny who has to eat cooked carrots every day, has far too many brothers and sisters, and has very bigears. So he decides that instead of being a bunny he is going to besomething else and leaves him to find something better to be. Now, momand dad already know what lesson P.J. Funnybunny is going to learn when hegoes out into the world and tries to be some other sort of an animal, butwe can certainly appreciate how author Marilyn Sadler and illustratorRoger Bollen make the lesson sneak up on beginning readers.
First P.J. decides to be a bear and so he goes to live with the bears. But then he discovers that sleeping all winter long is not exactlyexciting. So he decides that he wants to be a bird and goes to live withthe birds. Of course the pattern repeats itself as he finds that being abird, or a possum, or a pig, is not as much fun as he might have thought. In going through this cycle of events Sadler and Bollen do something thatworks very well: there is always a double-page spread of P.J. beingwelcomed by the other animal and for a moment young readers can believethe bunny is happy. But then they turn the page and see the problem thatP.J. has discovered in trying to live a new life as a beaver or a moose.
The reason this works so well is not only that it develops a pattern ofrepetition but also that even beginning readers anticipate not only whatis going to happen next but why P.J. is going to be less than satisfied. Sometimes it is easy to guess what the problem is going to be, as whenP.J. decides to be skunk, but what problem do you think he is going to bewhen he decides to be a moose? As a result, "It's Not Easy Being a Bunny"not only teaches a lesson about being happy with who they are, itencourages young readers to think ahead and anticipate what will happennext as a result of the simple but effective way this Beginner Book tellsits story.