Confessions of a Bunny
by Melissa Jackson

"She was my person, and she loved me."

"I know I may look like I’ve been around a really long time, but this is actually what four years of hard living looks like on a stuffed bunny." Bun Bun may appear to be an ordinary toy. But to a four-year-old girl named Reagan, the raggedy once-pink bunny is her dearest companion. Bun Bun's adventures begin at a time soon after Reagan's birth. Enjoying many days "filled with soft hugs and kisses and coos and cuddles," The warmth of these moments quickly shifts into interesting adventures for Bun Bun as Reagan slowly transforms from a baby into a preschooler.

Dragged from place to place, Bun Bun's body begins to "take a beating." Regardless of the rough handling, Bun Bun knows that she is loved. Every day is a new adventure, especially when Reagan is upset with leaving her favorite buddy at home while she is at school. As Bun Bun so eloquently states, "My person needed me, so there I was, day in and day out, absorbing every tear, squeeze, death grip, and tender cuddle." Eventually, fascinating escapades follow when Reagan is allowed to bring Bun Bun to school, and a puppy becomes a new addition to her family. Amid the exciting changes, Bun Bun has no idea that she is about to encounter her biggest adventure.

Jackson's debut is a tender tale of love and devotion. Bringing to life a well-loved stuffed animal, Jackson features Bun Bun as her featured narrator. Her engaging storytelling highlights a brief yet poignant overview of Bun Bun's four-year journey with "her person," Reagan. Never one to complain, Bun Bun relays the highs (i.e., hugs and cuddles) and lows (i.e., wear and tear) that come with being a favorite toy. These various elements send a reminder to her that she is no ordinary "stuffy." Bun Bun knows that she is truly loved. "For many kids, stuffies come and stuffies go, but not for my girl. I was hers, and she was mine."

Jackson's writing style is not one that is distinctive, yet certainly appealing to youngsters. Winnie the Pooh stories and Charlotte's Web come to mind as widely acclaim favorites. Their attraction to children provides a fantastical outlet into the imaginary realm of creatures (whether inanimate or real). In the case of Bun Bun, the personification of a beloved stuffed animal is very powerful not only to a child's world of make-believe but also to their psychological well-being as they are building social and communicative skills. That said, Jackson's use of this literary element coupled with lightly worded text produces a story with broad reader appeal, reaching out to non-readers (pre-kindergarteners) as well as burgeoning ones (first to third graders).

An ideal complement to Jackson's warm-and-fuzzy read is Shannen Marie Panadero's endearing mixed media renditions. Panadero's feathered-edged illustrations are replete with pastel hues lightly punctuated with bright colors and softly lined objects. Although Bun Bun's expressions remain emotionless, Panadero balances light-hearted and cheerless scenes through facial expressions, most primarily from Reagan. Confessions of a Bunny has the potential of becoming a new childhood favorite.

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