01 April 2011

Nina Bonita


by Ana Maria Machado, illustrated by Rosana Faria, translated from Spanish by Elena Iribarren

I'm taking this one off my book list.
It's a beautifully illustrated book about a very dark black girl and a white bunny who falls in love with her skin color. The rabbit says that when he gets married he wants a daughter as black and pretty as she. Then he asks her a few times how her skin got so dark and pretty. Nina Bonita does not know the answer so she makes up something different each time he asks.
The two parts I don't like and are the reasons I'm taking the book off my book list are: (1) One of the things she tells the bunny is that she drank a lot of black coffee. So the bunny drinks so much that he can't sleep and "spent the whole night going to the bathroom", and the illustration shows him sitting on a kitchen counter looking miserable in a big puddle of pee. (2) Another thing she tells the bunny is that she ate lots of blackberries. So the bunny ate until he was so full he couldn't move, his belly hurt, and he "spent the whole night going to the bathroom". The illustration shows him laying in the street market where he bought the basket of berries with a scattering of bunny poo all around him.
In the end Nina Bonita's mother sets the bunny straight by telling him that she looks just like her "black grandmother". Nina Bonita's mother is also black, but she isn't as dark. So the bunny decided to look for a black bunny to marry, and he finds her, and they have lots and lots of babies that are different shades of white, gray, and black, and spotted, and one "very pretty bunny with very black fur". "Naturally Nina Bonita became the black bunny's godmother."

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