Benton, Jim. Love Bites. Scholastic, 2005. ISBN 978-0439693455 72 pp. $
From the preface disclaimer that reads “no actual bunnies were physically harmed or emotionally damaged in the making of this book” to the Alfred, Lord Tennyson quote on the final endpaper, Love Bites is a snort-out-loud satire about modern day romance. The character Happy Bunny is a self-centered, blunt and oblivious creature whose narcissism is utterly droll and amusing. Example: the advice “Let your new crush know that you’re genuine and sincere,” is illustrated with a Happy Bunny cartoon with the quote bubble reading “I sincerely want you to genuinely worship me.”
This tongue-in-cheek self-help guide introduces the reader to the five common stages of every romantic relationship: crush, getting to know one another, the honeymoon, the relationship, and the end. Punctuated by quizzes, a Mad-Libs style breakup letter, and concluding with a fill-in-the-blank chart so one might keep a list of past loves (to avoid repeating the past), the interactivity is only one of the book’s charms.
The illustrations are cute, with thick bold lines and uncluttered backgrounds, uniform in appearance and limited in color. Shades of pink dominate, accented with high contract black & white, bright yellow and red, and pale blue. Each of the five chapters is printed on a different pastel background. The irony between the sweet images and the spiky tone is priceless.
The compact size would slide neatly into a standard greeting card envelope, and just as easily disappear from a library shelf. It’s a book sure to piss someone off (for it’s negatively and use of the word “sucks”) but if you aren’t offending someone, you may not be doing your job right, and the teens for whom the book is designed will take it in the spirit in which it was written.