Tina Eshed’s new chapter book, The Adventures of Bunzy: The Beginning, is a winning, magical adventure perfect for reading aloud or for new readers to master independently. Starring Mr. Bunzy, a quirky but confident toy rabbit, the story celebrates the remarkable power of love and the simple joys of friendship.
The book begins when a lonely old woman knits herself a 15-inch toy rabbit for company. No ordinary old woman, this one has magical powers. She names her new friend Mr. Bunzy and casts a spell, giving her toy a heart, the ability to speak, a strong character and a passionate love of strawberries. But he can’t eat and speak unless he is loved.
In the beginning, the rabbit and the old lady are happy. Mr. Bunzy gets restless and wanders into the forest, however, and soon is lost. When a loving young boy named Jonathan finds him in a puddle — wet, bedraggled and silent — Mr. Bunzy’s real adventures begin. Because Jonathan loves the toy, Bunzy is quickly talking up a storm again. Before you know it, the boy and the magical rabbit are off on a journey in which they tangle with tree goblins and are rescued by a cherry blossom fairy, among other adventures.
Eshed is a graceful, confident storyteller. She weaves so much love into this simple tale that her characters burst fully alive from the pages. Readers, however, might wish the illustrations and the book design equaled the text in charm. Because The Adventures of Bunzy is designed as a storybook for toddlers, independent readers looking for a chapter book might miss it. That would be a shame, because this is the beginning of a rich, satisfying series.