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Reviewed by Hilary Hawkes for Readers' Favorite
Sunny and Victor: Best Friends Forever is a delightful color illustrated children’s book by Bob Welbaum. Little Sunny is a golden furred rabbit whose favorite game is making snow slides by thumping his large rabbit feet on the snowy hill slopes. One day he gets caught up in an extra big snow slide and lands buried beside Victor the bear, who is out searching for berries. Poor Sunny is terrified when he sees those sharp bear teeth, but Victor rescues Sunny and the two become friends. However, Father Bear sees the little bunny as a yummy meal and Sunny has to run away. Victor, a young bear who likes to think for himself, won’t believe that bears should eat rabbits, especially one who knows where the best acorns and nuts can be found. Sunny gets his chance to prove what a good friend (as opposed to a good meal) he makes when hunters arrive searching for bears.
This is a delightfully entertaining story suitable for reading to young children, or as a book to be read by readers perhaps aged eight plus. Bob Welbaum’s style and tone of writing in this book is just right for its target audience. The plot unfolds at a good pace with the right amount of conflict that had me thinking “Oh no!” as Sunny lands in potential danger, and as the bear hunters arrive on the scene. Like all good children’s books, there is a satisfying ending. I love the characters in this story – Sunny the brave and adventurous rabbit with a great sense of fun; kind and helpful Victor who is able to think for himself; and big Father Bear with his protective and survival instincts.
A light and humorous story, it depicts the perhaps unlikely friendship that develops between a young bear and a rabbit and shows what can happen when there is understanding and co-operation. I like the way Victor persuades his father that how things have always been aren’t always the right or best ways – sometimes new and better ways can be found. And friendship is what matters most. There is an additional educational element to the story – a few facts about bears which add to the book too. The bright and colorful illustrations by Michelle Kozberg complement the story perfectly and will, no doubt, encourage discussions and questions about bears and rabbits and their habitats. Sunny and Victor: Best Friends Forever makes a very worthy addition to any child’s library.