soup of the day: happy birthday, bunny! by liz garton scanlon and stephanie graegin

bunny nine

Happy Happy Birthday Birthday!

It’s time to put on your party clothes and fancy shoes: for our first Soup of the Day for 2013, we’re celebrating a birthday book’s book birthday! Got that?

And I’m doubly, even triple-y excited because it was written by one of my favorite author/poets, Liz Garton Scanlon, and beautifully illustrated by Brooklyn-based artist Stephanie Graegin, who did such a brilliant job that it’s hard to believe it’s her very first picture book. You know how much I love featuring “first books.” 🙂 I totally agree with Kirkus, who called Stephanie “an up-and-coming artist to watch” in their *starred review*. Hooray!

But more about Happy Birthday, Bunny! (Beach Lane Books, 2013), right after we suit up for the festivities.

First, please select a party hat, with or without bunny ears:

via beaucoup
rabbit ear top hats
via Trendy Tree

As the book says, we must have fancy shoes. Choose between these adorable lambs wool bunny slippers,

bunny shoes (2)450
via The Random Shop

or these soft leather rabbit and carrot shoes. Cute, no?

carrot shoes (2)400
via Star Child

Here at Alphabet Soup, we believe in bibs. Try this one on for size:

carrot bib (2) 475
via LemonLime Babies

And we definitely want to make lots of joyful noise today. Feel free to sing, dance, play your accordion and shake shake shake your tambourine:

tatiri tambourine
via Little Lovees

Okay, lookin’ good! Let’s party!

* * *

♥ Serving up Happy Birthday, Bunny! ♥

(I’m all ears.)

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Since I was born in the Year of the Rabbit, my wittle whiskers happily twitched just seeing the title. In this sweet story, we’re invited to a toddler-ish bunny’s birthday party. She endears herself to us immediately with her earnest, ingenuous questions as she delights in each and every part of the experience.

What are these and what are those?

Fancy shoes and party clothes!

Someone’s knocking — who is here?

Peekaboo, it’s Nana, dear.

hbbunny1 (2)

Getting dressed, decorating, setting out food, greeting guests, singing, chatting, dancing, blowing out the candles, opening presents, taking pictures, and reminiscing are all joyfully played out through simple rhyming text and winsome, digitally colored and assembled pencil-and-ink washes. Liz and Stephanie have lovingly captured the innocent wonder and ears-up excitement of the quintessential child’s birthday party set aglow with the warmth of family and friends.

Stephanie’s nattily dressed rabbits and woodland animals are emotive, animated and wonderfully charming without being too cutesy, and her pictures have a tender, old fashioned, timeless feel about them. Little ones will enjoy pointing to the bunnies, owls, foxes, beavers, raccoon, and skunk, as they learn about, re-experience and/or look forward to their own birthdays. Who doesn’t love a big yummy cake and being the center of attention? Beat by beat, the lilting cadence of Liz’s carefully honed couplets sets just the right pace for all the action, making this a fun, classic read aloud eager munchkins will ask for again and again.

HBBunny2 (2)

HBBunny3 (2)

In addition to the glowing review from Kirkus, Happy Birthday, Bunny! has also garnered another well deserved *starred review* from Publishers Weekly, who said, “. . . it’s pure celebration, and readers will share wholeheartedly in the pleasure.” Tippity top!

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♥ Let’s Eat! ♥

Bibs on and spoons ready? Ears and whiskers clean?

Please join me now in congratulating Liz and Stephanie, our favorite bunny girls of 2013. The Alphabet Soup kitchen helpers had fun cutting out carrot flowers to decorate the soup bowl and are still debating over whether the flowers themselves or the scraps taste better. While they are still munching on both, feel free to dip deep and slurp your good wishes with gleeful gustatory gusto. And since you just happen to look extra fetching today, we’ll even pretend it’s your birthday too!

soup one edit
Today’s Special: Carroty Crunch Bunny Broth (whisker-lickin’ good)

With our soup, a special Ensalad Petite Bouquet,

lettuce bouquet (2)
via Vegetarian Perspective

and Orange Blossom Carrot Salad:

orange-blossom-carrot-salad-520 (2)
via Simply Recipes

Yes, I can hear you panting for dessert.

In honor of Liz, Yoga Pose Cupcakes,

yoga cupcakes baked ideas (2)500
via Baked Ideas

and in honor of Stephanie, Chocolate Groundhog Cupcakes (her birthday is on Groundhog Day):

groundhog cupcake
via little prince treats

Because it’s your birthday too, hare’s a big piece of carrot cake :):

carrot cake slice
(click for recipe via Make Fabulous Cakes)

When you’re done wrapping your lips around that, help yourself to some bunny cookies

bunny cookies
via Miss Cuit

and balloon cookie pops.

balloon cookies (2)500
via Katie Duran

What would a party be without presents? Hare’s a little something for you to take home:

cookie presents (2)
via Cake Tales

Now my furry friends, you know the drill.

Hop on over to your local indie or click through to your fave online bookseller to snatch up a copy or two or three hundred of Happy Birthday, Bunny! If you go to a brick and mortar store, wear bunny ears or dress up as one of bunny’s forest friends. While you’re waiting in line, play the accordion or strike your tambourine to get the other customers in a good mood while you tell them all about the book. Don’t forget to bring the cashier a cupcake and a balloon, and say the secret password “Honey Bun” if you’d like a discount.



* * *

bunny cover (2)475HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BUNNY!
written by Liz Garton Scanlon
illustrated by Stephanie Graegin
published by Beach Lane Books, January 2013
Picture Book for ages 2-5
Cool themes: birthdays, celebrations, parties, babies, rhyming stories

* * *


Happy Bearthday, Alphabet Soup Readers!!


*Spreads from Happy Birthday, Bunny! posted by permission of the publisher. Text copyright © 2013 Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrations © 2013 Stephanie Graegin, published by Beach Lane Books/Simon & Schuster. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2013 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.


39 thoughts on “soup of the day: happy birthday, bunny! by liz garton scanlon and stephanie graegin

  1. This book looks so adorable! And I don’t know how you find/take all the beautiful pictures you do for your posts! I’m thinking I need to hire you as an interior decorator! :–)


    1. It *is* very adorable!! PERFECT birthday gift for wee ones. Thanks for the kind words — the fact is, I myself need an interior decorator — plus a personal chef, chauffeur, and housekeeper. If you’re up for any of these positions, let me know :D.


  2. What bunny fun! The book looks delightful. I am hopping over to a bookstore to get it! And, as always, Jama, your colorful photos and tasty treats are irresistible!


    1. Well, that’s why I included the link, so you can bake your own carrot cake :). That way you get more than just one piece. Dangerous, I know . . .


  3. Oh…my…oh…my I must get my paws on this delightful book. I love a rhyming narrative and the color palette has a chocolaty glow (if you know what I mean). Thanks so much for showcasing this new title. I’m on my way to get a title or two. And your added commentary with pictures is a wonderful bonus, Jama. I’m a Year of the Rabbit gal too! 🙂


    1. *twitches whiskers* Yay for Rabbit people!

      And yes, “chocolaty glow” is a great way to describe the art. Warm, luminous, cozy, delicious!!


    1. Those cupcakes would be great for a yoga party — each guest must do the position before eating his/her cupcake :). That way you can stay fit while feasting . . .


  4. Oh, Jama. Honestly. There are no words for you and your lovely generous book birthday posts! I would like to bring you a big slice of carrot cake right now!!! Thank you — and thanks to all of YOU, too, for celebrating with us! I’m in love with Stephanie’s artwork and really excited about this new book 🙂


    1. Aw, thanks so much and congratulations again, Liz! YOU are truly a wonder, giving us so many fine PBs to love and enjoy. Stephanie’s art is a perfect pairing for this story — kudos to the editor too! 🙂


  5. Gosh, does Liz SLEEP? Another adorable book! So pleased for her, and those yoga pose little gingerbread toppers made me laugh out loud. I need some of those. Too, too cute. Once again, thank you for celebrating and inviting us all along for the joy. ♥


  6. There’s something so irresistible about that demure white bunny tail emerging from Daddy Bunny’s slightly bow-legged jean bottom! And such a sensible sweater vest. Does Cornelius have a dapper sweater vest?

    Happy book birthday Liz and Stephanie!


    1. Oh my, you’re checking out Daddy Bunny’s bottom? Utterly shocking! 😀

      Cornelius does not have a sweater vest, or any clothing for that matter, aside from his bow. He likes being risque and going nude (good for ratings, you see).


  7. I have 2 granddaughters with birthdays coming who would love this very much. Congratulations to both Liz & Stephanie for their wonderful book. Love those groundhog cupcakes. Aren’t bakers the nouveau artists these days? That petit bouquet is simply wonderful, too. Food art at its best, Jama. Thanks again for all the entertainment.


    1. This book sounds perfect for your granddaughters, Linda! I agree — there are so many bakers who’ve taken food art to new levels. I’m blown away by their creativity.


  8. What a great little book and, yes, the illustrator is an up-and-coming star. All those foods look so-o good. I was thinking a Mad Hatters CAKE with fondant bunny ears might be yummy, too. Please, Jama, save me a slice of carrot cake.


  9. Thank you so much for this wonderful, thoughtful review! The sweet comments about my work really made my day. And I got such a kick out of seeing my name spelled out in the soup! Thank you for making my first picture book release a very special day!


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