Book: Big Mean Mike
Author: Michelle Knudsen
Illustrator: Scott Magoon
Source: Local Library
Big Mean Mike is rough and tough and mean, mean, mean! And he only likes things that are rough and tough and extra-super-mean. That’s why he’s so dismayed when a little pack of fluffy bunnies attaches themselves to him. Fluffy bunnies do not suit his image (even if they are pretty darn cute). What will he do if all his big, mean friends find out?
From the first image of Big Mean Mike, with his spikes and his claws and his teeth, to the final page with the fuzzy bunnies accompanying Mike to a demolition derby, this charmed me. I loved that Big Mean Mike remained essentially himself at the end. He still likes rough and tough, he just knows that being true to friends is more important than any image.
Scott Magoon plays up the incongruity of the cute bunnies in Big Mean Mike’s hard-edged world by making them little balls of fluff, all soft roundness. They’re not even outlined--they’re pure white fuzz. They're more than capable of holding their own, however. It's got to take some serious bunny-guts to sit there being fuzzy and adorable in the face of Big Mike's determined meanness.
This book just made me laugh and laugh. I can’t wait to see what a first or second-grade class makes of it.