Bizard And The Big Bunny Bizness by Chrissie Krebs

Now that Bizard the Bear Wizard (as Bear’s friends have dubbed him in the aftermath of getting a wizard’s wish-granting wand stuck on his head, unicorn-style) has saved the forest, he’s very much looking forward to enjoying his impending hibernation. But what will the other forest denizens do about getting their wishes granted while he’s fast asleep?

Bear himself is torn: he wants to help his fellow woodland creatures but a good winter’s sleep is something every bear should get to luxuriate in. Enter Squirrel, who is more than happy to step in to fill the void. All Bear has to do is wish for a wand for Squirrel to use while Bear hibernates. Surely, nothing could possibly go wrong!

Ofc, Fox and Owl — being much more sensible than the enthusiastic Squirrel — have their concerns. The friends decide on a test run of this backup wand, with one caveat: wishes may only be granted if Squirrel, Fox and Owl all agree on the outcome. A satisfied Bear goes back to bed, and the grand experiment begins.

At first, everything goes well, even if Squirrel does seem to care more about what he can do vs what the wisher actually wants. But Squirrel soon grows restless, and decides to go out into the forest granting wishes instead of waiting for supplicants to come to Bear’s cave. Fox and Owl do their best to tag along and temper Squirrel’s more enthusiastic impulses, but when a different sort of temper gets the best of Squirrel, certain disaster — in the form of a giant baby bunny — soon threatens the peace and happiness of the forest’s animals. Will our trio of friends be able to fix everything while Bear naps, or will they have to call in more than just their usual coterie of allies?

This cute middle-grade graphic novel is a wonderful paean to the benefits of teamwork, as well as of not letting one’s enthusiasm override one’s good sense. Perhaps most importantly, it’s a book about how friends support and forgive each other in the face of genuine contriteness and the absence of malice. I did very much appreciate, too, how Wizard learned to be kinder to Cat, tho I definitely felt for poor Cat, who suffered unnecessarily in the interim. The running gag with the cellphones was also hilarious.

The art is very cute, if in that naif style popularized by Dav Pilkey and Jeff Kinney. Anthropomorphic characters will always be adorable, especially when they’re as sweet and good-hearted as the ones depicted here.

Bizard And The Big Bunny Bizness by Chrissie Krebs was published January 2 2024 by Margaret Ferguson Books and is available from all good booksellers, including

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