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Rabbit

Here Comes the Neighborhood

The mind that gave us Wicked turns toward anthropomorphic animals as Gregory Maguire brings us Cress Watercress, a new hardcover novel for young readers. “When Papa doesn’t return from a nocturnal honey-gathering expedition, Cress holds out hope, but her mother assumes the worst. It’s a dangerous world for rabbits, after all. Mama moves what’s left of the Watercress family to the basement unit of the Broken Arms, a run-down apartment oak with a suspect owl landlord, a nosy mouse super, a rowdy family of squirrels, and a pair of songbirds who broadcast everyone’s business. Can a dead tree full of annoying neighbors, and no Papa, ever be home?” Illustrated by David Litchfield, Cress is available now from Penguin Random House.

image c. 2022 Penguin Random House

Do We Finally Get The Bunny?

For a long time, we’ve been talking about an animated TV series based on the award-winning comic series Usagi Yojimbo. For years. Nay, for decades! Well now, according to Netflix, it’s about to become a reality — and soon! “First announced in July 2020, the adaptation of Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo is coming to Netflix in April 2022 — specifically on April 28th, 2022… Candie Langdale and Doug Langdale are serving as the showrunners for the series. They’re best known for their work on Netflix’s Maya and the Three, [as well as] working on DreamWorks projects Puss in Boots and Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness.” Now as to the plot: “Usagi is a young rabbit who doesn’t want much from life – just to be history’s greatest Samurai. When he comes to the futuristic city of Neo Edo to seek his destiny, he accidentally unleashes dozens of the bizarre, ancient monsters known as Yokai. Now, along with his new friends Chizu, Gen, and Kitsune, he must clean up the mess he’s made.” Stan Sakai himself is proudly involved with every step of the production.

image c. 2022 Gaumont Televison

The Rabbit Has Magic

At a recent convention we came across The Secret of the Wind, the first volume in the new graphic novel series Cottons — written by Jim Pascoe and illustrated by Heidi Arnhold. “In Cottons, rabbits and foxes inhabit a world where magic, technology, and art are used as weapons of war… To her neighbors in the Vale of Industry, Bridgebelle is an ordinary rabbit. All day long, she toils at the carrot factory. After a hard day, she returns home to care for her ailing auntie. And whenever she’s out, she’s watchful of the murderous foxes who prey on her kind. But Bridgebelle is not ordinary—she’s a rabbit with talents beyond her own understanding. Using cha, the mysterious fuel that powers her world, she can change everyday objects into thokchas—magical, transforming works of art. Bridgebelle makes thokchas because they’re beautiful. But there are those in her world who want to harness her powers and turn her art into a weapon.” The book is available now in hardcover and paperback from First Second.

image c. 2022 First Second

Would You Turn Back?

We really don’t know how to properly summarize this “modern fairy tale” by Shelley Moore Thomas — so we’ll let the publisher do it for us. “Off the coast of Ireland, on the island of Hybrasil, lives a Magician and four enchanted rabbit sisters. One by one, the rabbits have been leaving the island, accompanied by a Boy and his boat. When the rabbits leave, they can turn back into girls. The last rabbit, Albie, remains. She doesn’t want to leave, but the island is sinking. Before deciding where she wants to go, Albie visits each of her sisters. Caragh has joined a circus. Isolde is the captain of a pirate ship. And Rory wants to go home to the family’s house in Cork. Through many furry twists and hoppity turns, we learn how one mistake can lead to many consequences, and that forgiveness and family are always within reach.” The Last Rabbit is available now in hardcover.

image c. 2022 Penguin Random House

Bunny Go Bang

Whoa! We missed this last fall — but now we can tell you all about Billy the Kit, a new full-color series from Blue Juice Comics. “The Wild West has never been wilder! Introducing Billy the Kit, a gun-slinging rabbit seeking revenge against the Tornado God that killed his family. Why was this sickly, skinny rabbit spared such a gruesome fate? What makes him so special? With the help of Luther the Goat, a profanity-spewing martial arts master, Billy relies on faith, magical firearms, and Kung Fu to wage war against the pagan gods and monsters of a bygone era.” Written by Justin Gray and illustrated by Barry McClain, it’s available now.

image c. 2021 Blue Juice Comics

They Bump Back. Hard.

After several entries for young readers, now it’s time for something truly different…! “Bigfoot, the Jersey Devil, the Loch Ness Monster. All are age old folklore fodder, but could they actually be real? In recent years the myth of Man Goat and The Bunny Man has grown locally, and many have claimed sightings of the two unique creatures; yet no concrete evidence exists… And that’s exactly how they want it! Dealing with the things nightmares are made of so we don’t have to – deranged mutants, satanic cults, demons, summer vacationers – Man Goat and the Bunny Man protect us from the evils that hide in plain sight. But they don’t want your adoration, they just want to be left alone!” Issues of Man Goat and the Bunny Man (created by Joe Brusha, Ralph Tedesco, Dave Franchini, and Edgar Salazar) are available now from Zenescope.

image c. 2021 Zenescope

Kiff is Spiff

Looking further ahead with Animation World Network. News from Annecy 2021: “Disney Channel has ordered Kiff, a nutty animated buddy-comedy series from South African creators and executive producers Lucy Heavens (Space Chickens in Space) and Nic Smal (Caillou), set to debut in 2023… The series follows Kiff, an optimistic squirrel whose best intentions often lead to complete chaos, and her best friend Barry, a sweet and mellow bunny. Set in the bustling mountains, where animals and magical creatures live together in harmony, the series features the duo, who take the town by storm with their endless adventures and zest for life.” So we’ll see you in a couple years then!

image c. 2021 Disney Channel

So Deadly and So Cute

Don’t look now, but Stan Sakai’s world has gone pear-shaped — almost literally! It’s time for Chibi-Usagi: Attack of the Heebie Chibis, a new full-color graphic novel premiering this month from IDW. “Stan Sakai’s beloved rabbit samurai has won countless fans over his 35 year history, thanks to a clever blend of thrilling action, heartwarming characters, and realistic portrayal of Japanese culture. Chibi-Usagi brings these fun and thoughtful stories to middle-grade readers as a original graphic novel packed with adorable art and captivating energy. While fishing for freshwater eels, Chibi-Usagi, Tomoe, and Gen rescue a Dogu, a clay creature from Japan’s prehistory. The Dogu’s village has been enslaved by the Salamander King and his Heebie-Chibi minions and are forced to work in their mines. Chibi-Usagi and his friends must rescue the Dogu people and eliminate the threat of the Salamander King forever in this feature-length story of adventure, humor, and slippery eels.” It’s written by creator Stan Sakai, of course, with art and more writing by Julie Fujii Sakai. In trade paperback.

image c. 2021 IDW Publishing

Friendship is Yummy

Have you noticed that people who create stuff for young readers love to name characters after food?  Well here we go again… Blue, Barry & Pancakes is a new hardcover graphic novel from First Second. It’s written and illustrated by Dan Abdo and Jason Patterson, creators of the animated TV series Rocket Monkeys for Nickelodeon. “One day, when the gang goes to the beach, Barry and Pancakes lose Blue’s beloved beach ball. They come up with a plan to get it back, but things go way off course. Now, these pals will have to go inside a giant whale’s stomach, crash a pool party on an alien spaceship, and survive Duckzilla’s volcanic birthday bash if they ever hope to see Blue’s beach ball again!” Got that? The bunny, frog, and snake are available now.

image c. 2021 First Second