Friday, June 12, 2015

My little girl has just blossomed as a reader after her second year in school -- I can't believe she's going to be a second grader in the fall! -- so when I was approached about being involved on the Ninja Bunny blog tour and including her, I couldn't say no. Especially once we had the book in our hands and saw how absolutely adorable it is for ourselves.

For our stop, Katie and I both share our thoughts on the book below, but we've also got an interview with the author and illustrator extraordinaire. The publisher and marketing team have also put together some fun promotional materials for you to share with your own little ninja, too! But first, here's a little about the book:

Title: Ninja Bunny
Author: Jennifer Gray Olson
Series: n/a
Publisher: Knopf BFYR
Publication Date: June 9, 2015
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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A fresh, funny, and hip picture book about a little bunny who wants to be…a ninja!


· Rule #1. You must always work alone.
· Rule #2. You must be super sneaky, especially in the most dangerous of situations.
· Rule #3. A super awesome ninja must: possess incredible strength, achieve invisibility, master the skill of climbing, gain the ability to fly…

Our little bunny is ready to embark on his path to becoming a ninja. But is he cut out for the ninja life? Especially if it means leaving his friends behind?

Katie's thoughts:  I really loved the pictures. I liked at the end where Ninja Bunny said "Uh oh," and then the bear said, "Uh oh," and then the rest of the bunnies helped Ninja Bunny. I learned how to be, like, a super awesome ninja, and I also learned that you also need to have friends by your side even when you think you can handle things on your own. Oh, and I also liked the part where Ninja Bunny was falling instead of flying. =)

Jen's thoughts:  This book was so adorable…we've already read it a few times since we received it! Katie's at the end of the age range for this story, so she was able to read the entire thing herself and understood it all with relative ease, even if some ideas she picked up via context clues. And we both just loved all of the images of Ninja Bunny, flying around or caught in trees as he practiced his super awesome ninja skills. I also really loved this book's message:  that you can do things yourself, but you'll have even better success sometimes if you'll only let others help you.

Ninjas show up in different variations in children’s books. How did you come up with the idea of a ninja bunny and the rules?

Every day before I begin my illustration assignments, I do a warm-up sketch. One morning Ninja Bunny just showed up. Originally there was an off-scene narrator telling him what ninja rules to follow, but that was later replaced by the rule book, which seemed more tangible and easier for the reader to engage with.

Did you ever want to be a ninja?

Um, every day. No past tense. Ninjas are awesome.

Ninja Bunny shows readers the importance of understanding both the text and the images. There is also an element of humor throughout the story. How did you plan this out as you worked on the book?

I’ve always loved picture books where the text and the illustration are at odds with each other. It makes the reader feel like they’re in on the joke. I definitely wanted to keep that feeling throughout the book. Ninja Bunny’s character also helped to keep a sort of slapstick feel to the images. His clumsiness is trumped only by his confidence, which is fun to play with visually.

With three children, what kind of routine do you have for writing and drawing?

With three kids ages eleven, nine, and three, my routine has to stay fairly flexible. The one rule I try to stick to is that when I have designated work time, I actually work. This—as anyone who works from home knows—can be almost impossible. Between housework, the kids’ school responsibilities, and a million other distractions, it’s hard to stay focused. For the most part I try to save the things that require my attention the most for when my mother-in-law or husband are on kid duty. But as with any job, things come up that are time-sensitive and have to be addressed regardless of whether the three-year-old just got into my makeup and is now covered in mascara.

Do you have a special area in which you like to work?

I work from my home studio. It’s usually covered in crayons, stickers, and coffee cups. Here it is in a very unnatural state of cleanliness.

Are you working on any new projects that you can share with us?

I am! I’m currently illustrating The Good Dog and the Bad Cat, the sequel to The Good Dog, written by Blue’s Clues co-creator Todd Kessler. I’m also thrilled to share that I’m working on the sequel to Ninja Bunny! Our bunny friend will test whether his ninja skills will help him as he faces his greatest challenge yet . . . his little sister. It’s set to release in fall 2016.

Since summer is coming up, what are your favorite summer activities in your community?

With my kids, most things we will do this summer involve water. We usually try to get to the beach once a week in the summer. We’ve also recently moved within walking distance of a really awesome splash park, so I’m excited to get over there as much as we can.

What are your favorite bedtime stories to read with your boys?

Currently my boys are pretty absorbed in what they’re reading on their own, and as they read faster than me I’d probably only slow them down! Eli (nine years old) just finished Eragon, his first attempt at taking on a bigger reading challenge. Ethan (eleven years old) is just finishing up An Ember in the Ashes, and he loves it! That being said, they will almost always sit in on Charlie’s storytime. This week she’s into everything Seuss, as well as The Day the Crayons Quit and Louise Loves Art. Oh, and Ninja Bunny, of course . . .

About the author:

JENNIFER GRAY OLSON is a graduate of California State University, Fullerton, where she earned her bachelor of arts degree in art education. She is a glassblower and sculptor. In addition to writing and illustrating, Jennifer is also the co-coordinator of the SCBWI Orange/Riverside/San Bernardino illustrators’ schmooze. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two boys, and baby girl.

Find Jennifer:

Website | TwitterFacebookGoodreads

Be sure to check out the rest of the fun on the tour this week and next!


Monday, 6/8:  Mundie Kids, Review and Giveaway
Tuesday, 6/9:  Jenuine Cupcakes, Author Guest Post
Wednesday, 6/10:  My Friends Are Fiction, Author Guest Post
Thursday, 6/11:  Book Rock Betty, Review w/ Kids and Fun Post!
Friday, 6/12:  The Starry-Eyed Revue, Interview and Review

Monday, 6/15:  A Dream Within a Dream, Review and Giveaway
Tuesday, 6/16:  Vi3tbabe, Review w/ Daughters
Wednesday, 6/17:  The Forest of Words and Pages, Review w/ Son
Thursday, 6/18:  Love Is Not a Triangle, Review w/ Children
Friday, 6/19:  Kidlist, Review

And now some fun for your little ones! You can share Ninja Bunny and his mad ninja skills with your kids in the form of a certificate, maze, connect-the-dots, and more below!

My ninja name would be Zip Zam Hee. How about you? :P

Happy reading & ninja-ing! =)


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