Title: Good News Bad News
Author & Illustrator: Jeff Mack
Publisher: Chronicle Books, 2012
Book Type: Fiction
Themes: Moods, Attitude, Friendship
“Good News ……. Bad News”
Synopsis (from Amazon website):
Good news, Rabbit and Mouse are going on a picnic. Bad news, it is starting to rain. Good news, Rabbit has an umbrella. Bad news, the stormy winds blow the umbrella (and Mouse!) into a tree.
So begins this clever story about two friends with very different dispositions. Using just four words, Jeff Mack has created a text with remarkable flair that is both funny and touching, and pairs perfectly with his energetic, and hilarious, illustrations.
Checkout the companion activity kit at Chronicle’s website. Includes printable maze, connect-the-dots, and more.
Create your own good news/bad news story. Start off with a story starter like “a porcupine wins a balloon” which could be the good news. What is the bad news then does the balloon pop, does the porcupine fly away, or something else? The possibilities are endless. This could be a fun way to challenge kids to think creatively and see the upside to any situation.
Why I Like This Book:
A book that appears simple and comical at first, but has a deeper theme on attitude and friendship.
Rabbit is an optimistic, attentive friend, who is always pointing out the bright side to any bad situation. Mouse is a pessimistic, though in some case expected as he is getting the raw end of the deal (like the worm in the apple or getting splattered with icing). The book has a simple book design where each half spread shows a “bad news” scene (like mouse being grumpy about the rain) followed by a “good news” scene (rabbit offering an umbrella). This back and forth between good and bad continues, with the situations ever-increasing until mouse has a double-paged spread where he screams “BAD NEWS” because he just can’t take it anymore. Here is where the emotion hits home as mouse for the first time notices his effect on his friend rabbit, who has begun to cry and wail “Bad News” too. The story ends on a satisfying note with a hug between mouse and rabbit and the line “very good news”.
This book is a visual story with a simple format that kids can easily follow. The bad news scene always correlates to the good news scene, hence the good news scene is used before the page turn. Because of this format kids will enjoy guessing what the bad news scene that is to come. This nearly wordless book with colorful, cartoon-styled artwork tells a visual story that will be attractive for kids just learning to read. Parents and teachers will appreciate the theme of optimism/pessimism. A great book to use for storytime.
See pages spreads from the book at The Children’s Book Review.
Bad News: This book will not be added to Perfect Picture Book Friday as it was already reviewed in September.
Good News: You get to read a great review by Erik at This Kid Reviews Books. Also check-out Carter’s review at Design of the Picture Book where she discusses the book design.
Creativity Time: Let’s create a good news bad news story of our own. I’ll provide the starter sentence. You provide a Good News or Bad News comment depending on the last comment made.
Good News – Porcupine and Skunk go to the circus! (first person to comment gets to pick which character is optimistic/pessimistic)
This book was nominated by Katherine Sokolowski for the 2012 Cybils Awards in the Fiction Picture Book category. I am a second-round judge in this category, but this review reflects my opinions only, not those of any other panelist, or the panel as a whole. Thanks!