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Did She or Didn’t She?

A Handful of Lies

Betty Bunny Didn’t Do It, by Michael B. Kaplan with illustrations by Stéphane Jorisch, is the third in a series of picture books from Dial Books ($16.99, ages 3-5).

9780803738584H

I think a lot of parents know a child like Betty Bunny, funny, genuine, a real character at times but also still a little kid learning her way in the world, even if sometimes it’s the wrong way.

This story finds Betty trying to get out of trouble for breaking a lamp. While her three siblings know she was responsible, Betty claims, “I didn’t do it.” Then it hits her when her brother Bill asks who did. “The Tooth Fairy,” replies Betty, quite pleased she came up with such a good excuse.

It’s not long before Betty’s mom confronts her daughter about breaking the lamp. And Betty still denies having done it.

“Is that the honest truth?” asked her mother.

“No,” said Betty Bunny proudly, “it’s an honest lie.”

The lesson Betty learns about telling the truth is one her whole family jumps in on which is what I especially liked about this picture book. The brothers and sister share their two cents which is how it works in most families.  Betty Bunny Didn’t Do It provides a terrific starting point for parents to discuss honesty and the ramifications of crying wolf – if you always lie, when will people believe you?  The watercolor, pen and ink illustrations are full of expression and depict the family dynamic in a clear and colorful style certain to delight.

After Betty embraces honesty and tells her dad who has just returned from the gym that he smells, Betty’s dad also teaches her that while telling the truth is good, it’s important not to hurt someone’s feelings. For youngsters learning how to successfully navigate the world of social conventions and manners, lots of baby steps (or in Betty’s case – hops) are required and many mistakes will be made. This book helps by showing children great examples in a very humorous, relatable way.

– Reviewed by Ronna Mandel

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