Funny Bunny Feelings Review – Children’s Picture Book

Author Joanne Tan-Casem teams up with illustrator Hannah Varela on a cute little children’s picture book with a surprising twist.

It’s not easy being a parent. This is a children’s picture book review, so if you are reading it, I’m sure you don’t need any explanation as to why. So many sleepless nights. All that washing. And why are they so intent on killing themselves as soon as you turn your back? Perhaps most frustrating of all is the dumbfounded expression written across your child’s face when you explode. They just don’t get it, but why would they? Well, perhaps Funny Bunny Feelings can help?

For ten years, author Joanne Tan-Casem has been plying her trade as an event planner in the gorgeous harbour city of San Francisco. Half way along that journey came a little boy and the highs and lows of being a parent. Those highs and lows have been turned into a little story with Funny Bunny Feelings. It takes a surprising perspective for a children’s picture book, looking at the day-to-day experience of being a child from the parent’s perspective.

Funny Bunny Feelings Story Review

The story follows Molly Rabbit as she goes from rambunctious young adult, through pregnancy and into motherhood via three cute little bunnies. We follow this journey through to their school years, as Molly struggles to keep the house in order and her income – in the form of carrots, of course – flowing while ensuring her young ones not only feel loved, but her main priority. It’s so spot-on it could be the life of any one of us. But how can you make a mum’s trials interesting to children?

You could be forgiven for thinking that such a story has a lot more in it for parents than it does for kids, but this is not the case. Joanne Tan-Casem has done an excellent job setting the scenes in a way that they actually provide insight to your child. By using the familiar setting of a rabbit’s life and combining it with the consistent dialogue thread of “funny bunny feelings,” the story is easy for children to understand. In fact, it could even help children empathise with what their parents do for them. And certainly, it creates a referral point when you’re trying to make them understand during later arguments conversations.

Saying, “remember when Molly Rabbit was tired, but happy?” could have an impact. As long as you mumble the bit where you add, “…and that’s why mum drinks chardonnay.” Ha!

Without question, artist Hannah Varela has produced stunning illustrations for Funny Bunny Feelings. The book looks great; world-class. Each page is rich in detail and colour, and it never looks like corners have been cut to save money. Importantly, Varela has conveyed the emotions of each scene through the rabbit’s faces while still retaining an organic feel. It’s not over-the-top or cartoony, carrying a genuineness that such a story demands.

Funny Bunny Feelings Technical Review

The book’s design, a standard square affair, is solid. The mix of full-bleed and half-page illustrations keeps things lively. As does occasionally having the text suspended above a transparent white layer over a section of the page. The font also fits well, achieving the ideal situation of being readable and befitting of the art.

There are a couple of pages that are notable for being way too text heavy. They stand out from the rest of the book, and I think there were alternative design options to explore here. Ideally you would have more pages – but that costs more at the printer and with the artist.

As a father, it did find it quite disconcerting that no male parental figure is accounted for in this story. I’m not sure it sends a great message to children to suggest that all of the work to maintain a family should be done by the mother. This could simply be Joanne’s life experience, and I don’t intend here to criticise her for writing what she knows. But perhaps a second edition could account for a dad’s presence. A simple, “when daddy rabbit isn’t around to help” somewhere in the premise could retain the focus on motherhood and keep dads in the picture without requiring new art.

Around the story is some additional text for parents that I think were a great inclusion. A knowing wink to the chardonnay support team and some words of encouragement. It all adds to a book that’s easy to recommend. Relatable to children and parents, but in completely different ways.

Essential Info:

  • Author: Joanne Tan-Casem
  • Illustrator: Hannah Varela
  • Suitable for: Ages 4-6
  • Where to Buy: Amazon

Where to Next?

Are you looking for more great children’s books? Then visit the Old Mate Media library. If you are an author or illustrator looking to make their own children’s book, then look through our services in the main menu, or read our step-by-step guide. For authors and illustrators already published who would like to have their book reviewed, then head here to learn more.

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One Comment

  • Paul says:

    It may not be a coincidence the absence of the father bunny in her story. Although the author grew up surrounded by responsible male role models, her biological father was not around most of her life.

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