Friday, July 4, 2014

Perfect love: A book review about "Audrey Bunny"

Audrey Bunny is a children’s book written by Angie Smith with illustrations by Breezy Brookshire. 

The text of the book is neatly organized into clusters of three to four sentences per page with the exception of one or two sentences on pages where the illustrations take center stage.

Smith weaves a beautiful tale filled with vivid imagery of a stuffed toy bunny and a written message that portrays perfect love. Smith uses two key questions on page 5 of the book that are a page turner: “What happened to bunnies that were never chosen? Did they live in the barrel forever?” Instantly the reader wants to know what happens to the bunny in the barrel, these questions prompt the reader to turn the page.

The illustrations by Brookshire are breathtakingly beautiful and capture the whimsical feel of the tale weaved by Smith. The front cover has a beautiful sketch of what looks like a cherry blossom tree in full bloom. The deep rose-pink petals cascade from the tree’s brown limbs, showering a young girl with carrot red hair who is holding up a bunny in mid-air and apparently twirling in delight. The sway of the girl’s flowing white dress and arrangement of her green sweater give the reader the impression that it is a slightly windy day. The cover picture serves as foreshadowing as to how the story will unfold: Girl finds a stuffed animal bunny, presumably at a toy store. Girl’s parent buys the bunny. Girl falls in love with her new toy and treats it like her very own best friend.

As the book is opened, the reader discovers in the first few pages in which the setting is a toy store, that the young girl’s name is Caroline. As the story progresses, the reader learns that Caroline names the bunny Audrey which was her grandmother’s name. The sketches by Brookshire are essential to the journey between Audrey and her bunny. Every page of the book tells the reader something about the bunny’s plight to be loved despite an unsightly mark on her chest, and the young girl’s desire to find a new toy to love.

Children can relate to Caroline and appreciate her happy spirit and sweet personality. They most definitely will understand Caroline’s eagerness to include the bunny in her everyday activities—from tea time and dress-up to reading books and falling asleep. Children will make a text-to-self connection when Caroline showcases Audrey Bunny to all of her friends at school for show and tell. The entire book is incredibly relatable for children—especially young girls—in their early years of education. Parents, especially mothers, will love this book and may want to use it as the traditional bedtime story as they lull their daughters to sleep.

Unconditional love is the theme of this story. The girl loves her bunny despite its imperfection. Perhaps Smith meant this story to be a portrayal of how God loves us perfectly, as imperfect as we as humans are. Maybe the message at the heart of this story shows us how God’s love is unfailing as He looks past our broken, brings out our beautiful and restores us completely. We may still have our imperfections such as Audrey Bunny’s mark which can be used as a metaphor in the real world, but we have the perfect love and providence of a Savior.

I would recommend this book to every parent who wants to show their child—especially ones who feel that they do not fit in or are not good enough—that they are loved not just by their parents and family members but by the Creator of the Universe whose love is pure, perfect and unconditional.

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