Big Mean Mike

Michelle Knudsen

Book - 2012

Mike is proud to be the biggest, toughest dog in the neighborhood, so when tiny, fuzzy bunnies start showing up in his big, mean car he sees them only as a threat to his reputation, no matter how adorable they are.

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Picture books
Somerville, Mass. : Candlewick Press 2012.
Main Author
Michelle Knudsen (-)
1st ed
Physical Description
unpaged : ill
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

The eternal struggle between tough and tender gets a workout in this adorable book although the protagonist would be furious at the word adorable. That's because he's Big Mean Mike, the biggest, toughest dog in the whole neighborhood. With spiked collar and leather jacket, he is the canine on the block that no one messes with, whether he's buying new combat boots or heading to the gym. Potential embarrassment arrives in the form of a very cute bunny who pops up in his hot rod. Mike later finds two bunnies, and then three more. Boy, their sweet little fuzzy faces really get him steamed! It takes a showdown with canine bullies at the monster truck show for Mike to fess up how much he likes these cuddly little suckers. Knudsen has a blast picking away at Mike's bad-boy exterior, while Magoon's digital cartoon work contrasts the dog's sharp lines and angry expressions with the cottony textures of the bunnies. Every kid likes something that isn't cool to his or her peers; they should follow Mike's not-so-mean example.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Big Mean Mike, a dog whose spiked collar and leather jacket signal that he's a serious tough guy, is mystified when wee, innocent, fuzzy bunnies start appearing in his big, mean car. He's forced to appear in public with them and must endure the scorn of his friends: "Didn't figure you for the cute and cuddly type," one jeers. But Big Mean Mike rises to the occasion without losing any of his meanness: "I can hang out with whoever I want! I like these bunnies.... And they're adorable! Any of you got a problem with that?" Magoon's (Chopsticks) blocky Mike and his souped-up ride are appropriately dynamic: Mike's toothy snarl is often front and center, and his muscle car has orange flames and an exhaust system that belches smoke. Knudsen (Argus) offers an uncompromisingly macho version of the defend-your-friends theme, and its cultural references (combat boots, gym membership) and the inherent humor in seeing the bunnies charm their way into Mike's heart will keep readers attentive-and laughing. Ages 4-8. Agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. Illustrator's agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 2-Big Mean Mike is a dog whose image is not supposed to include fuzzy bunny friends. As the toughest canine in the neighborhood, he wears silver spikes and combat boots and drives a big mean car that makes a lot of mean noises. One afternoon he finds a fluffy bunny in his car and leaves the sad rabbit on the sidewalk eating dust as he peels away. The persistent animal keeps returning with friends until the day of the Monster Truck Show when there are four incredibly endearing bunnies gazing at him. Dropping his macho image for just a moment, Mike gives in to their sweet, pleading faces and takes them in to watch the show. Knudsen has created a tough guy with a soft heart who ultimately chooses his friends despite what others may think and still manages to be himself. Magoon's bunnies are digitally rendered with soft, fuzzy edges but are just as tough on the inside as Mike is on the outside when they growl at the crossbones-adorned bullies picking on their large companion for hanging out with uncool friends. Readers will fall for the adorable bunnies and cheer Mike's new devotion to them. Share this doggedly worthy read-aloud during your favorite friendship-themed storyhours for a lot of growls and laughs.-Kristine M. Casper, Huntington Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

A warning: This book may make you like cute bunnies. Big Mean Mike likes monster-truck shows. This is puzzling, because he's bigger than some of the trucks. Big Mean Mike wears combat boots he bought at a store called Big Boots. Mike, it's worth noting, is a dog, with a spiked collar. Mike should never own a bunny, but small, cute bunnies keep appearing in his sports car. One shows up in his trunk. Another shows up in his glove compartment. To Knudsen's credit, this is never explained. Magoon has made the bunnies exactly as adorable as they need to be. They're never cloying, but they're fuzzy and round, and readers will feel embarrassed for Mike when he has to carry them past his friends, who are wearing muscle shirts and the occasional eye patch. The small details may be the real reason to buy the book. The grille of Mike's car looks like the teeth of a shark. One of the toughest dogs has a cat's skull and crossbones on his shirt, along with the words "HERE, KITTY, KITTY." And every young reader will spot the Batmobile at the edge of a parking lot. When Mike finally learns to love his bunnies, the illustrations have set up the moment perfectly. They look like they belong together. Even the toughest readers will crumble under the appeal of these bunnies. (Picture book. 4-8)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.