THE HOUSE OF 12 BUNNIES REVIEWED

Before reviewing The House of 12 Bunnies, I have to declare for the record that I live in a house with two bunnies, so this book was always going to have appeal for me.

But I was also drawn to the fun of a houseful of young rabbits causing chaos as they go about their business. I enjoyed their childlike actions – and the way they cover just about every piece of floor space with their toys and precious belongings.

Sophia, a cute white bunny is the star of The House of 12 Bunnies due for release by Little Hare books tomorrow.

Being completely white she is easy to distinguish from the other bunnies and can be seen peering over fences, among toys and between boxes; her little white face sometimes only just visible.

Written by mother and daughter, Caroline Stills and Sarcia Stills-Blott, The House of 12 Bunnies is an entertaining read with beautiful illustrations by Judith Rossell. She has drawn each rabbit with its own endearing personality.

Sarcia was 8 when she wrote the first draft of this story and seems to have injected a child’s sense of fun into The House of 12 Bunnies.

This picture book has so many layers and Judith Rossell’s images offer something different for the reader every time they open the book. The closer you look the more you realise how much fun these bunnies are truly having.

The storyline is something small children will relate to – losing an important  possession just before bedtime. I’m not going to give away the ending but the resolution will leave the reader content and ready for sleep.

There is also a learning component to the book with opportunities to count and add up and to identify different animals and objects.

“In the playroom there are 5 teddy bears, 3 dogs, 2 cats, 1 duck and a giraffe with stuffing coming out.”

There was so much to enjoy about this story and the gorgeous pictures, that I couldn’t choose a favourite scene, but bunny bathtime and bunnies bouncing on the bed sure brought back memories of when my kids were little. And that’s where I think The House of 12 Bunnies will have appeal for small children and adults alike.

As the blurb on the back of the book says, “When twelve messy bunnies live under the same roof, the rooms nearly bust with fun things…”

And of course there’s the fact that The House of 12 Bunnies is published by Little Hare

 

CAROLINE STILLS TALKS ABOUT 12 CUTE BUNNIES

Today, Caroline Stills is back at Kids’ Book Capers to talk about how she collaborated with her daughter, Sarcia (aged 8 at the time) to create their new book, The House of Bunnies.

What inspired you to write this book?

The House of 12 Bunnies started with my daughter, Sarcia. Like a lot of children, she has always been very creative, and spends lots of her spare time typing up stories or drawing pictures. A couple of years ago, I was reading through some of her stories, and one in particular grabbed me as a great idea for a picture book. It was called The House of 99 Kids, and in the story Sarcia (aged 8 at the time) imagined what would be in each room of a house where so many children lived.

I worked on her initial manuscript, adding more rooms to the house and expanding the text, and sent it to my publisher at Little Hare Books. She liked the idea, but preferred to target it to a younger age group, so I re-wrote it as The House of 12 Children, as most children can count to twelve by the time they start school. Then, together, my publisher and I worked on several more versions of the text, adding layers so that we were educating readers in a subtle way as well as entertaining them, and creating a fun narrative, until we were both happy with the final version. And lastly, after seeing the lovely bunny illustrations created by Judith Rossell, we changed the title to The House of 12 Bunnies.

(They are gorgeous illustrations, aren’t they, Caroline? Tomorrow we’re talking to Judith Rossell about how she created them.)

What’s The House of 12 Bunnies about?

This is what is written on the back cover: When twelve messy bunnies live under the same roof, the rooms nearly burst with fun things to find and count. There are twelve chairs, twelve beds, twelve towels, and twelve of just about everything else! In the middle of all the muddle, Sophia searches for the one thing that will get the bunnies to bed on time.

What age groups is it for?

Children aged 2 to 7. The younger children can have fun helping Sophia find what she is looking for and seeing what the bunnies gets up to in each room. Most readers will be able to find the 12 things on each page, and older readers can even attempt some simple addition.

Why will kids like it?

It’s interesting to imagine living with lots of others, and seeing what each of the bunnies is doing. And it’s essentially a fun search-and-find book to learn about numbers and counting.

Is there something that sets this book apart from others?

I’m proud to have written this book with my daughter. I hope it encourages lots of other children to try writing their own stories. You never know what could happen.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I love that this book is a real group effort – starting with Sarcia’s original story. I really enjoyed the collaborative process working with the fantastic team at Little Hare Books, who truly care about creating fabulous books for children.

What was the hardest thing about writing this book?

Nothing. It was a terrific experience and process.

 

CAROLINE STILLS IS PASSIONATE ABOUT PICTURE BOOKS

L-R: Sarcia and Caroline Stills with their new book

Caroline Stills and her daughter Sarcia are the authors of a gorgeous new picture book, The House of 12 Bunnies due for release on 20th August. Today, Caroline visits Kids’ Book Capers to tell us about her writing journey.

How did you become a writer?

I started to take my writing seriously when my first daughter was born, back in 2000. No longer in the paid workforce, I figured that I would have plenty of time to write – after all, babies spend so much time sleeping – right? The reality of the emotional rollercoaster of being a new parent – and sleep deprivation – soon set in, but I did start putting pen to paper, and joined a writers’ group for added support. My first attempts at writing were for adults, but inspired by my children, I wrote the text for a picture book a few years ago, and was extremely fortunate to have the result “Magic Mummy” published as my first picture book.

What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

I love being a writer – it’s fun creating new characters, stories and worlds. The best part is being able to work from home, so I can combine my writing with being a mum, which is my most important job.

What is the hardest thing about being a writer?

Having a manuscript rejected is never easy. And it’s hard to make a living solely from writing, but I’m working on that!

What were you in a past life (if anything) before you became a writer?

Immediately before I started writing, I was co-running a business designing and selling maternity wear, which my business partner and I started from scratch. Before that I worked as a remuneration analyst at a bank and as a Tafe teacher. And before that I did lots of odd jobs to pay my way through University.

What is your greatest writing achievement?

I can’t name an achievement as my greatest – maybe it’s still to come – but I do feel chuffed each time I walk into a shop and see one of my books on the shelves.

What are you working on at the moment?

I always have a picture-book or two on the go, but I am also trying other types of writing. I have just finished my first novel manuscript for middle school aged children, and have just started my first attempt at a Young Adult novel, which I’m excited about and very much enjoying.

Do you have any tips for new writers?

If writing is your passion, enjoy the journey. I also think a good writers’ group is really invaluable, both for what you can learn from each other, but also for the emotional support from those who know just how you feel.

How many books have you had published?

Three picture books:

Magic Mummy, illustrated by Christina Miesen, published by Black Dog Books in 2009.

An A to Z of Pirates, illustrated by Heath McKenzie, published by Little Hare Books in 2010.

The House of 12 Bunnies, co-written with my daughter, Sarcia, illustrated by Judith Rossell, and published by Little Hare Books, has just been released.

Book number four – An A to Z of Fairies – is due for release in a couple of months.

Anything else of interest you might like to tell our blog readers?

We will be celebrating the release of The House of 12 Bunnies, on August 20, 2011. Please see my website for more details; www.CarolineStills.com

On Wednesday, Caroline is back at Kids’ Book Capers to talk about how she and Sarcia wrote The House of 12 Bunnies. Illustrator, Judith Rossell is visiting on Thursday to talk about how she created the wonderful pics, and on Friday there will be a bunny review here at Kids’ Book Capers. Hope you can join us.