Hans Wilhelm is a German American author/illustrator who’s work I discovered while searching for Easter stories one year. I always enjoyed Easter at school because it not only brought the promise of warmer weather, but the students were a little more mature and confident in their abilities, the expectations were higher and the work a little tougher, so the opportunity to celebrate Easter as a class provide a lovely break.
It was one of my traditions to read as many Easter and bunny books as Easter approached, so I usually scoured the Scholastic order form and searched the library to find as many books as I could.
One year I was very fortunate to find Bunny Trouble by Hans Wilhelm. The beautiful, colourful, expressive illustrations help the reader become truly invested in Ralph the rabbit, the main character. Poor Ralph was born into a family of Easter egg decorating bunnies, but Ralph only wants to play soccer. This leads to all kinds of problems for Ralph, his devoted sister Liza and his family. This desire to play when he should have been working really struck a chord with some of my students who firmly believed that recess and gym were the ‘only’ good things about school.
In subsequent years I acquired two more Bunny Trouble stories. More Bunny Trouble which tells the tale of Ralph shirking his babysitting duties and losing his baby sister. I always made sure I had time to read this one all the way through without a break, because we just had to know how things turned out! The third is Bad, Bad Bunny Trouble about a very grumpy Ralph who nearly ruins Liza’s birthday party with a shocking display of bad manners that lands him in the attic (of the bunny tree house) for a time out. Fortunately this puts Ralph in the perfect place to save the day when a trio of large savage foxes crash the party. Again, the beautiful illustrations ensured rapt attention and gleeful enjoyment from my young students.
I left most of my books behind when I retired, but I was fortunate to find Bunny Trouble Treasury on Amazon which includes the 3 stories I once had and a new reverse counting story called Ten Little Bunnies.
My students and I really enjoyed these books and they make for great Easter reads! More on Hans Wilhelm to come in the future!