Bunnybirds Vol 1 by Natalie Linn

In the world of the Bunnybirds (essentially rabbits with wings,) the most important thing is to stay light-hearted so that one can fly freely with the rest of the flock. Princess Aster has been taught that heavy emotions lead to leaden wings, so she, like the rest of the Bunnybirds who live in splendid isolation in the royal tree, tries to live a life that’s essentially “no thoughts, head empty” beyond mealtimes and playtimes.

So when members of the flock begin disappearing, Aster tries not to worry, especially when she’s told that thinking and talking about it will only make everyone sad. But when her own father vanishes, Aster knows she can no longer pretend that everything is fine.

Uncertain of what to do next, she goes to the neighboring dragon court for advice. They laugh her out of their palace, but a young rebel Bunnybird comes to her aid, offering to guide her over the rim of the world in search of her missing people. Carlin is nothing like the rest of the Bunnybirds: her emotions are often all over the place and fully on display, in stark contrast to Aster’s much more dignified composure. The pair have no idea what to do with each other, but Aster needs a guide and Carlin needs the reward, so off they go to territories uncharted by the average Bunnybird.

Or so Aster had always believed. As the pair traverse strange new lands, they fall in with an aloof sand-dog named Feet, and soon learn that their friendship affords them greater power than they had ever wielded individually. Will their bond be enough to save them, however, when they finally discover the fate of the missing Bunnybirds and confront a foe far greater than any they had ever imagined?

I quite liked the point of the book, that it’s okay to feel and express your emotions and that you shouldn’t just go along to get along, but feel that the depiction of apathy, in particular, felt hard to differentiate from mindful processing. I genuinely could not tell whether the Bunnybirds were calm or numb, and it felt weird to me to be told that a meditative state was entirely unnatural and necessarily the result of evil influence. Like, I’m sure that wasn’t what Natalie Linn was getting at, but I couldn’t shake how anti-Nirvana it felt.

While I enjoyed the art for the most part, I did find some of the line work confusing, and the flow of the speech bubbles less than clear. That said, the main characters are all adorably depicted, and I kinda want plushies of Aster and Feet (I like Carlin well enough, but also she is exhausting.) I think that readers who are really into chaos will really like this book. Ironically, it kinda made me want to go sit somewhere and meditate for a bit, because I value my peace and this book isn’t really about that. I agree that the kind of conformity the Bunnybirds originally espouse is detrimental to the individual, but I also think there’s a lot of value in invoking the serenity prayer and knowing when to rest before embarking once more on the ongoing struggle of making the world a better place, one action at a time.

Bunnybirds Vol 1 by Natalie Linn was published June 11 2024 by Holiday House and is available from all good booksellers, including

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