Emmaline and the Bunny by Katherine Hannigan is a sweet, cautionary tale about the dangers of eliminating the messiness of nature from our everyday lives. Emmaline lives with her parents in the tiny town of Neatasapin which is run by the bad tempered Mayor Oliphant. The mayor's favorite pastime is making declarations about tidy people, tidy houses and tidy yards all in the name of keeping the town of Neatasapin as neat as a pin. Emmaline feels out of sorts because she enjoys playing in the mud, running and jumping and hollering the occasional "hoopalala!" When Emmaline's parents ask her what she would like for her birthday, she asks for a bunny to call her own. Bunnies are messy. Bunnies are untidy. How can Emmaline make a place for a bunny in a place like Neatasapin?
Filled with soft watercolor illustrations that portray the message of the story beautifully, this uniquely-sized book is sprinkled with fun made-up words that bring Emmaline's spunky character to life. Readers will empathize with Emmaline and her challenges and cheer when she succeeds in showing her parents that there is more to life than neatness. Children, like bunnies, need room to grow and time to explore and be wild and free.
This book is intended for ages kindergarten to 3rd grade, and the illustrations make it well-suited to a bedtime read-aloud. In a note at the end of the book, there is a list of "green" credentials that list how much energy and resources were saved during the production of the book. Alliteration and imaginative wording help make Emmaline and the Bunny a good choice for children to read and enjoy; the gentle message about pet care, family, and friendship make this a charming and enjoyable book for children and the young at heart.