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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Hot, Cross Bunny by Stephanie Thatcher

Basil is a bunny who does not react well when things don't go his way. He gets hotter and hotter, crosser and crosser until he is a hot, cross bunny. On a picnic with his sister, his bun drops on the ground. Will Basil explode or is there an opportunity to try a new approach to getting what he wants?

This is an adorable book for our youngest readers, following the roller-coaster ride of emotions of Basil the bunny.

Author and illustrator Stephanie Thatcher takes that all too familiar topic of tantrums and has turned it into an adorable and humourous picture book that also provides a subtle message. Thatcher offers readers some good, age appropriate advice on emotions, without being condescending to either tamariki or adults. The story will resonate with pre-schoolers and junior primary classes, and the adults that read it too.

Her illustrations are bright and packed with emotion and action. Teachers and adults will instantly see ways of building children's comprehension through the illustrations, while children will no doubt recognise themselves and others within the pages. The story will validate children too - too often we're quick to shut down the emotion, but Hot, Cross Bunny shows little ones that emotions are part of life, that we all get upset and angry but we need to set some 'anger rules'.

There are lots of great shared learning and discussion points that could develop from the story, and I see it being a great resource for our early childhood educators. The repetition of key phrases makes it easy for younger readers to join in within a few readings. It's a great read aloud book, with plenty of opportunity to add expression. Reading aloud is a skill, and Hot, Cross Bunny will help those who aren't so confident - just look for the text in capital letters as the perfect spot to add some expression.

Thatcher adds some humour into the story too, with a fun, cheeky ending that will prompt plenty of discussion.

Hot, Cross Bunny is an adorably illustrated book which will help our younger readers understand and manage their emotions.

Reviewed by Rebekah Lyell

Scholastic, RRP $21.99


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