Bunny vs. Monkey PB
Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic Inc.
Release Date: January 26, 2016
Price: $7.99
Creator: Jamie Smart
Format: 64 pgs., Color, 6" x 9," Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-5458-6184-7
Age Rating: 7-10
ICv2 Rating: 3 Stars out of 5

While cute, this collection of mostly 2-page stories could have been better.  Monkey is too obnoxious and destructive for his role as the Daffy Duck analog, in this battle with Bunny. Bunny's friends are so stupid that the book seems like an insult to stupidity.  Bunny has no particular redeeming features, other than being not evil and not stupid, so by comparison, Bunny is the character that the readers must cling to for sanity's sake.

The rest of the creatures in the forest include a mad scientist skunk, a spying fox who is apparently French, and a suicidal stunt beaver.  A Chuck Jones could have made a brilliant cartoon about any of these characters, and a Walt Kelly could have done a storyline going on for weeks with any of them, and made it vastly entertaining.  In the hands of Jamie Smart, these delightful concepts are not wasted, but they’re not used to great purpose, either.  He constantly plays to the lowest forms of slapstick humor, even when something else would work better.  We're supposed to laugh when two characters glue their heads together.  Yes, that's the whole joke.

The book isn't totally bad, but the quality is inconsistent.  A few of the individual stories are quite funny, and kids who are only reading this during commercial breaks on Nickelodeon will find it to be entertaining.  One highlight is the method that Action Beaver uses to defeat the destroyer robot Metal Steve.  Captain Kirk would have approved.  If more stories were as clever, the book would have earned another star.

Suitable for all but the very young, with lots of cartoony violence.

--Nick Smith: Library Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.