WILLOW AND BUNNY
By: Anitra Rowe Schulte
Illustrated by: Christopher Denise
Published: October 10, 2023
Publisher: Two Lions
This beautiful story and the absolutely gorgeous illustrations are quite heartwarming while also giving space for a conversation with your child about the scariness of storms. Reading this story with your child will remind them that their family will protect them, their community will help each other, and there is always hope after a storm.
Bunny comes upon Willow (a large willow tree in the woods) after a long journey. Bunny decides Willow is the perfect place to make a home. Willow and Bunny looked out for each other and became best friends. Friends who protected one another and looked out for each other.
One evening a terrifying storm enters the woods and all the animals run to Willow for protection and safety. When the storm is over, Willow is no longer the same, but the animals are all okay. Bunny and the other animals work together to make their home and Willow a welcoming place again.
Even if you live in an area without tornados or damaging storms, this book can also apply to the storms in our lives that can wreak havoc on our feelings of safety and comfort. Sometimes it can be hard to approach these types of conversations with our children, but books like this create an opportunity for conversation and also teach kids to have empathy for others who may be struggling. Anitra and Christopher have taken a sensitive topic and made it relatable to kids and comfortable for parents to discuss.
Anitra Rowe Schulte is the author of Dancing with Daddy, which won the Christopher Award and the Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award. She has worked as a journalist for The Kansas City Star and the Sun-Times News Group, as a staff writer for Chicago Public Schools, and as a publicist. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband and their three daughters. Visit her at www.anitraroweschulte.com.
Christopher Denise wrote and illustrated Knight Owl, a 2023 Caldecott Honor winner and New York Times bestseller. He is also the illustrator of many critically acclaimed children’s books, including Anika Aldamuy Denise’s Bunny in the Middle, Alison McGhee’s Firefly Hollow, and Anne Marie Pace’s Groundhug Day, as well as several in Brian Jacques’s award-winning Redwall series. Christopher lives with his family in Rhode Island. Visit him at www.christopherdenise.com.