By Maureen Tai, 24 November 2018
An exuberant rabbit invites his grumpy mouse friend to an outdoor picnic. No sooner has the picnic basket been opened, the clouds take over the skies and it begins to pour. Using just 5 words in the entire picture book, Good News Bad News tells the humorous and charming tale of what happens next to this engaging pair.
I have a soft spot for wordless and sparsely-worded picture books, and adore them for the brilliant works of art that they are. Even the old adage, “a picture is worth a thousand words” is insufficient to describe the effect illustrations can have on a reader (for a moving example, see small things, a posthumously published wordless picture book by Mel Tregonning).
In Good News Bad News, we meet two friends who appear to be polar opposites. The wide-eyed, snow-white bunny rabbit is the perennial optimist, a glass half-full, rose-tinted spectacles sort, whereas the scruffy, crotchety brown mouse who lives in a hole in the ground is the classic pessimist, a glass half-empty, woe-is-me type. Together, the animals ping-pong back and forth from one good situation to the next bad one (hence the title). Not to fear, no thunderstorm, or swarm of bees, or ferocious brown bear is going to stop the upbeat bunny (and the reluctant mouse) in their quest to have an idyllic picnic! But will their friendship survive the challenges that nature throws at them?
This boldly-illustrated and heart-warming picture book for even the youngest of readers demonstrates how circumstances can change, depending on your point of view, and how a friendship can survive even the most life-threatening of calamities. There is only good news when you have a good friend, and that is very good news indeed.
For ages 0 and up.