Lulu and the Rabbit Next Door

illus. by Priscilla Lamont. 112p. (Lulu: Bk. 4). Albert Whitman. 2014. Tr $13.99. ISBN 9780807548165; pap. $4.99. ISBN 9780807548172.
Gr 1–3—One of Lulu's five pet rabbits is a bit of a loner. When she notices that her next-door neighbor has a bunny in need of proper love and attention, Lulu and her cousin Mellie devise a plan to make the two bunnies friends and keep the owner engaging the pet with fun bunny activities.
Animal-loving Lulu is excited to spy a rabbit hutch among her new neighbor's things. But Arthur sees pet ownership not as a joy but as a chore (although one he dutifully performs). So Lulu and her BFF/cousin Mellie hatch a plan to turn Arthur from pet-tolerator into pet-lover. This beginning chapter book features generous spot art, natural language, and an engaging story.
Curious about their new neighbors, Lulu and her cousin and BFF, Mellie, spy on the newcomers during move-in day. Readers familiar with the pair's previous three adventures (see, for example, Lulu and the Duck in the Park, rev. 9/12) will understand animal-loving Lulu's excitement when she spies a rabbit hutch, complete with pet bunny. And these same readers will understand her disappointment when she discovers that new-neighbor Arthur, who is the same age as Mellie and Lulu, sees pet ownership not as a joy but as a chore, although one he dutifully performs. Well cared for in terms of food and shelter, George the rabbit may die of boredom since he gets no attention from his video-game-obsessed owner. This can't be! Not in Lulu's almost-backyard. So Lulu and Mellie hatch an elaborate plan to turn Arthur from pet-tolerator into pet-lover. As in other books in the series, McKay fully rounds her characters, including Arthur, who emerges as a curious and kind child with many strengths. With its generous spot art, natural language, and engaging story, this beginning chapter book clearly sends a message that reading, like pet ownership, can be a pleasure. betty carter

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