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Opposites Attract

Debbie Glade reviews a book about a big mean dog named, Mike and some, fuzzy little irresistible bunnies.

Too bad you can’t see the smile on my face. I just read Big Mean Mike ($15.99, Candlewick Press, Ages 4 and up), and it’s  a really charming book with a terrific message for kids. Big Mean Mike is an intimidating dog with a big, mean car, a scary bark and a macho personality. He likes to rev his car engine and go to monster truck shows where other big, mean dogs go. And he loves the fact that everyone else is terrified of him.

One day Mike discovers a fuzzy white bunny in his car. Naturally he removes the bunny from his car and tells him to get lost. But the next day there are two fuzzy, white bunnies in his car, and each day there are more, until there are four fuzzy, white bunnies in his car. Since he can’t seem to get rid of them, one day Mean Mike decides to hide those bunnies in his bag and sneak them to the monster truck show. He was sure no one would see them. But he was wrong. What do you suppose happened when his mean friends saw him with four fuzzy bunnies?

What I love about Big Mean Mike is that teaches kids the ultimate message that you can still be cool if you are kind. Author Michelle Knudsen did a fantastic job of presenting Mike’s fearless, bully-like character in stark contrast with four darling helpless bunnies. Scott Magoon’s colorful cartoon-like illustrations work beautifully with the story and are a delight to look at. This is a perfect book any young child and for elementary teachers to keep in their classrooms. Big Mean Mike gives us all hope that behind every tough guy is a gentle dude with a big, kind heart.

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