THE AUTHOR: Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Peter Brown
Just like Jasper Rabbit, I thought that carrots would be a good subject right after Christmas. If you’re like me, you indulged too much, and now could use cold crispy carrots for a snack to get you back into shape, or, for too many of us, just into shape period.
When I was 5 I had a huge rabbit named Sally who loved lettuce and carrots. I know that she would have enjoyed helping Jasper enjoy the carrots that he ate from Crackenhopper Field.
Jasper Rabbit has a passion for carrots and he especially likes the ones that grow in Crackenhopper Field. He feels that they are the best, fattest and crispiest carrots around. He helps himself to them each day and throughout the day on a regular basis, until one day he decides that the carrots are following him.
Jasper first discusses the being followed by vegetative villains issue (as I like to call it) with his Mom, who of course can find no creepy carrots, just like most reassuring moms never can. And when Jasper still can’t sleep he enlists the help of his Dad, who like every dad who has ever lived assures him that it must just be his imagination, and helpfully tells him to go back to bed. But when Jasper feels sure that the carrot rampage is imminent, he forms a plan to secure the creepy carrots — and that’s where you’ll have to buy this book to find out what happens. Sorry to leave you hanging on the edge of your seat, but children’s authors need to eat, too.
This is a Simon and Schuster Book for young readers, and I believe it would be ideal for preschoolers, kindergarteners and first graders. Aaron Reynolds, the author, isn’t really scared of carrots, at least according to his bio. But he does admit to being terrified of black olives (which would appear to refute the old adage that good writers should only write what they know.) Perhaps “Odd Olives” just didn’t have the right ring to it.
Reynolds has authored many books for children, including “Superhero School,” “Chicks and Salsa” and the “Joey Fly, Private Eye” graphic novel series. His books have been featured on “Between the Lions,” and nominated for many awards, including the 2010 Edgar Allan Poe Mystery Award and the Monarch Kids Choice Award. He lives in Chicago with his wife, two kids, four neurotic cats (perhaps because they have been raised vegetarian?), numerous carrots (of the completely immobile variety), but definitely no black olives (mobile or otherwise). You can visit Aaron at www.aaron-reynolds.com.
I had a blast reading about Aaron Reynolds’ life. You must go to his website and explore. You will find out a lot more about him and his likes and dislikes. He even has a blog that you can follow. Great clean fun!
Peter Brown, the illustrator, is the author and illustrator of the New York Times bestsellers “Children Make Terrible Pets” and “The Curious Garden.” Visit Peter at www.peterbrownstudio.com. I’m sure that you’ll have tons of fun finding out about Peter’s fascinating life. You’ll also find pictures that students from all over the United States and Canada have sent in of themselves with – you guessed it — “creepy carrots.” Your child may want to send one in too.
I love the illustrations in the book. The expressions on Jasper’s face are hilarious, and children will enjoy them immensely. They also show close up versions of Jasper’s face so that children can get a different perspective and a “zoomed-in” effect.
I think my favorite page in the book shows Jasper in his bathroom brushing his teeth and, as rabbits should, promoting good dental health. He is covered in toothpaste, while behind the shower curtain lurk a plethora, a virtual cornucopia, of “creepy carrots” watching him, ready to attack. (Did I mention that there were lots of these carrots in the bathroom picture?) Of course when he whips around the creepy carrots are gone, so they must have been “only his imagination. (Or were they? Oooooooooooooooooooh. Creepy!)
“Creepy Carrots” promotes healthy snacking while taking Jasper on quite an adventure. You and your little ones will enjoy the carrots, and can talk about what is real (such as carrots) and what is not real (such as truly dangerous black olives, at least those with the pits already removed, and which do not sit on slices of week-old, fuzzy-looking pepperoni pizza).
This is a fun book (it certainly made me feel slightly silly, as you may have noticed) with a lot to offer. I award it 3.5 tiaras out of 5. Crunch, crunch and blessings!
Buice, a Carrollton resident, writes a weekly book review for the Times-Georgian. anita of anitabook.com