My Dead Bunny, Sigi Cohen (author), James Foley (illus.), Walker Books, 2015.
Sigi Cohen, originally from South Africa, now living in Perth, has a compulsion for matching words that rhyme. He is a lawyer by day, children’s writer by night. My Dead Bunny is his first book, shortlisted in the 2016 Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards.
James Foley started illustrating in primary school for the school newspaper. He began freelancing in 2003 and delights in presenting workshops at schools and libraries. James can be found at his website, and more awesome teacher notes can be found at the resource page..
MY DEAD BUNNY Review:
A gruesomely delectable story about poor little bunny, Brad; an electrified hare returned from the dead. In sharp and punchy rhyming couplets soaked in comical gore, Cohen takes his readers on a haunting, emotionally- and power-charged romp from the bedroom to the graveyard. Foley accentuates the drama with his eery, monochromatic, classic-movie-style cartoons, its black and white quirky scenes with shrieks of bright green perfectly set the spook-meets-comedy tone.
The boy narrator is understandably distraught when his pet bunny dies and is buried in their backyard. But when curiosity sets in, the boy unearths his once loyal friend, and the zombified mayhem begins. His sister becomes mentally unstable and the family are sent on an inescapable path to self-implosion. So, there’s only one thing to do… Create a roll-on effect of rotting pets to set each other straight!
Totally gross, but not too scary, and a whole heap of twitching crack-ups to keep those primary school-aged kids gloriously entertained for hours on end. My Dead Bunny is, literally, a blast!
1. How did Bradley die?
2. What colour are his oozing eyes?
3. What happened to the boy’s sister?
4. Why did the boys dig up Stanley’s cat?
5. How would you get rid of a zombie pet?
DISCUSSION / ACTIVITIES:
– TASK 1
Rhyming Words. The story is written in a rollicking rhyming format.
Make a list of key words and other words that rhyme with those. For example, ‘bunny’, ‘dead’, ‘night’, ‘scream’, ‘stink’.
Write rhyming pairs on cards and play a game of Memory or Snap.
– TASK 2
Reading Comprehension. Fill in the blanks.
“My dead bunny’s name is ____;
His _____ is extremely bad.
He visits me when I’m in ___,
But Bradley wasn’t ______ dead…”
You might like to choose different passages for each child to complete and illustrate.
– TASK 3
Start by brainstorming words (nouns, verbs, adjectives) relating to the book. Draw or paste pictures of the words on your list, or create your own story stones. Brainstorm some different possible titles for My Dead Bunny, and then your for own story. Plan your story with a new setting, characters, plot the events in order and create a twist or funny ending.
Where did your zombie pet come from? How did it get there? What creepy things does it do? How does this affect the characters? How will the problem be solved?
– TASK 1
Brad the bunny made his way from the graveyard to the house and followed the family to the Grand Hotel.
Make your own Zombie Pet Board Game. Draw a path (to reflect this story or your own creative writing story) of where your pet travels. Include spaces with numbers and creepy tasks (such as ‘roll your eyes three times’, or ‘stand on your head for ten seconds). First to the finish line escapes the zombie!
– TASK 2
Explore symmetry in the cemetery. Fold the paper in half lengthways. On the left side, draw half a picture of a tombstone, dead bunny or other graveyard image. Ask a friend to draw the other half the mirror image of your picture.
Nothing suits HALLOWEEN better than some gruesome, oozing slime from your dead bunny’s eyes, or the goo from his worm-infested brain! :p
Make your own slime and add your own rubber bits and pieces to add to the gross effect. Find instructions for a range of slime recipes at Little Bins for a Little Hands.
SOCIAL / PHYSICAL EDUCATION.
– TASK 1
Bradley may not be totally coordinated with his wonky eyes and ears, but you can be!
Play a game of Coffin Bean Bag Toss. Set up a box (painted like a coffin if you like) with some bean bags (disguised as dead pets if you like!). Aim and toss, record your attempts out of ten…then beat it!
– TASK 2
Poor Brad was poked with a stick, and worms tried to eat his face…ew!
Make your own My Dead Bunny Piñata, and fill it with worms (of the sweet variety!).
Here are some simple instructions for making piñatas at A Beautiful Mess. You can design your pinata any way you like!
VISUAL ARTS / TECHNOLOGY.
– TASK 1
A zombie bunny certainly has a ‘wobble’ about it when it walks.
Make your own My Dead Bunny Bobble Head.
3 egg cups cut from a carton
Green paint (neon looks cool)
Cotton / string approx. 30cm long
1. Paint the three egg cups in green paint.
2. Whilst drying, draw and cut out the pieces of the bunny, including ears, pink eyeballs, nose/mouth, tummy, two paws, two feet, a tail, and an orange worm. Make sure they will fit the size of the egg cups.
3. Thread the needle with cotton. Tie a large knot at one end. Poke through the top of one of the egg cups, and then through the underneath of a second egg cup.
4. Place some glue around the inside of the bottom egg cup, and squeeze the second one down to fit inside the first, creating like a ball.
5. Tie a large knot in the cotton about 3cm up from the top of the egg cups.
6. Assemble and glue/stick all the cut out pieces onto the egg cups to create a body (tummy, paws, feet, tail at back), and head (on the third egg cup with eyes, nose, ears, and worm).
7. Thread the needle again and poke up through the bottom of the third egg cup (head), pulling it down until it reaches the knot.
8. Your Dead Bunny Bobble Head is ready to wobble!
Click the image to watch our Dead Bunny in action!
All sourced resources have been credited.
These lessons are for personal and classroom use only and are not permitted for commercial use without written consent.
This post contains affiliate links to Boomerang Books.
This review and lesson plans are not paid and are my own educated opinion.
Purchase My Dead Bunny.