Kunoichi Bunny

by Sara Cassidy (Author) Brayden Sato (Illustrator)

Kunoichi Bunny
Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

The sun is out and the birds are chirping. It's a beautiful day for Saya, her dad and her well-loved stuffed bunny, Kunoichi, to go to the park. On their way, Saya stealthily stops a fight by flinging her floppy four-legged ninja-bunny between two snarling cats. Later on, on the bus, Saya throws Kunoichi under the wheels of a child's stroller, halting its dangerous roll toward the stairs. Dad doesn't notice as Saya uses Kunoichi to save the day time and time again on their outing and on the bus home, proving small actions can have a great impact.

This wordless picture book in graphic novel format by award-winning author Sara Cassidy and illustrator Brayden Sato will bring joy to every reader who believes in the magic of stuffed animals.

Kirkus Reviews

A visual, day-in-the-life adventure that can be used to stimulate literacy-rich conversations with children. 


A gentle, tender father-daughter excursion...The girl's bravery reveals her as the true kunoichi of this tale.

School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 1--This captivating, essentially wordless, comic book-style picture book captures a child's experiences as she saves the day with her toy bunny. A pigtailed toddler sits in a stroller clutching her rag bunny as her father pushes her. She sees two cats fighting and throws the bunny between them, separating the fight. Then she cries "Koichi" (the bunny's name), prompting her father to retrieve it. The day continues this way, as she prevents a stroller from falling down the bus steps, rescues a gosling, stops a ball from hitting someone, and makes an old lady smile, all with the help of Koichi. At the end of the day, the father washes the bunny and tucks it and the girl into bed. Other than the exclamations of "Koichi," the story is wordless, as single-page, full-bleed spreads give way to horizontal and vertical panels at different points. The colored pencil and digital art has a realistic feel, with fully colored backgrounds depicting the city around the father and daughter. They both have black hair and large black eyes. The other characters include an interracial couple with a white woman in a wheelchair. Sato does a brilliant job with point of view, perspective, and zoom, moving the plot along and giving it the feel of an everyday superhero story. This inviting book effectively encourages visual literacy for the youngest audience. The involved parenting by the father, as well as the inclusive depictions, are an added bonus. VERDICT A delightfully engaging, welcome addition to most collections.--Amy Lilien-Harper, Wilton Lib., CT

Copyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly

In this spare, largely wordless picture book that utilizes a paneled comics format, city scenes proceed cinematically as a pigtailed child, dark-haired and light-skinned, saves the day using a stuffed, Miffy-esque bunny named Kunoichi--Japanese for female ninja. Cassidy's (The Moon Is a Silver Pond) only text is the child's repeated call for their largely oblivious bespectacled parent to retrieve the stuffy after its escapades, which include stopping an infant's rolling stroller and cheering up an elderly bus mate. Onomatopoeia also appears: "PEEP!" reads one page, as the child spies a chick in distress below a storm grate. Kunoichi is slipped between the grate's bars ears first, allowing the young bird to pull itself up. "PLOP," reads the next page, as the chick is deposited onto the grass. After the bird snuggles Kunoichi (a red heart appears overhead), a "HONK" signifies its reunion with its parent. In his picture book debut, Sato (Father of the Witchborn, for adults) employs pencil art, finished digitally, in a cool-toned palette of indigo and salmon, particularly excelling at portraying dynamic, animation-like characters of varying ability, age, religion, and skin tone from a range of angles, and allowing easy visualization of the protagonist's thought process through storyboard-like panels. Ages 3-5. (Mar.)

Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"Variety in colour and structure, along with a diversity of characters, makes Kunoichi Bunny a compelling and thought-provoking read with tremendous entertainment value. Highly Recommended."— CM: Canadian Review of Materials

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
March 20, 2022

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