Dr. Mary Pankiw has written a lively story about ingenuity and determination, sure to entertain preschoolers. Starring Ruffles Rabbit, a creative bunny from the town of Bunnyville, it tells the story of an annual Easter egg contest that almost goes wrong.
All the bunnies in Bunnyville want to win the Easter egg contest, especially Ruffles. But when she arrives at the craft store to buy dye to decorate her eggs, everything is sold out. Suddenly, she remembers her grandmother didn’t buy dye at the store; Grandma Rabbit made her own from scratch. She boiled foraged ingredients on the stove, one by one, and transformed them into natural dye. Dandelion roots, when boiled, created a red color. Sorrel root, when boiled, created dark green. Blueberries didn’t create a simple blue, but one sprinkled with purple. Soon Ruffles is making dye just like in the old days.
Unique and beautiful, Ruffles’ decorated eggs win the contest — and Pankiw’s story reminds us that answers to our problems can’t always be bought at the store; sometimes the best solution is right in front of us, almost-forgotten and waiting to be rediscovered by a new generation.
Pankiw has a perfect ear for the repetitive rhythms and simple storytelling young children respond to. It’s unfortunate the book doesn’t model safe play and instruct children never to use knives or turn on the stove by themselves. One also wishes the book closed with actual dye recipes and Easter egg craft instructions. Finally, while Nadia Pankiw’s color marker illustrations are bright and bold, they’re not yet professional quality. Nonetheless, children will enjoy the time they spend with Ruffles in Bunnyville.