Follow This Blog: RSS feed
A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Top 100 Picture Books #70: Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas

#70 Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas (2009)
27 points

Another favorite read aloud.  You get to do funny voices for Ed, Ned, Ted and especially the prone to (not unwarranted) hysteria, Bob.  It’s also a great call and response book that lets kids answer the question of “What rhymes with…?”  When I was a bookseller, I would sell at least one copy every time I read it. – Sharon Thackston

Can you honestly believe that the last time I conducted this poll Jan Thomas didn’t make an appearance on it anywhere?  I suppose it makes a bit more sense when you consider how the poll was conducted in 2009 and that was when Ms. Thomas was just beginning to create delicious books like the one featured here today.  So it is with great pleasure that I welcome her to the Top 100 list. Hello, Jan!  Glad you could make it.

The description from my review reads, “Meet the rhyming dust bunnies: Ed, Ned, Ted, and Bob. As they like to say ‘We rhyme all the time!’ On this particular day Ed starts them off with wondering ‘Hey! What rhymes with car?’ Everyone puts in a vote except for Bob. Bob’s sort of staring in the distance and saying things like ‘Look!’ and ‘Look Out!’ The other bunnies are confused by Bob’s seeming inability to rhyme. Even when he says ‘Look out! Here comes a big scary monster with a broom!’ they’re not quite catching on. Finally he screams out ‘Run for it!’ and the troop run and hide under a dresser. However, when they attempt to restart their rhyming antics, ‘sat’ ‘pat’ and ‘rat’ are completed with Bob’s timely ‘vacuum cleaner!’ and with a mighty ‘Thwptt’ off they go.”

The urban legend about Ms. Thomas’s rise is that she was an SCBWI discovery.  An editor was doing manuscript consultations, saw the work Ms. Thomas had done for the picture book What Will Fat Cat Sit On? and signed her right there and then.  Is it true?  Haven’t a clue, really.  That sort of thing almost never happens, but it makes for a good tale.  As for this particular book it did inspire the sequel going by the name of Here Comes the Big Mean Dust Bunny in which our heroes suffer at the hands of a malevolent dusty fiend.

PW wasn’t entirely on board when they said of it, “Although a little sketchier than Thomas’s previous works, such as What Will Fat Cat Sit On?, this book is just as funny and snappy-looking.”

Indeed School Library Journal was far more positive when it said, “This book will make readers laugh; it will teach them to rhyme; it will enchant them and make them think twice every time they see a vacuum cleaner.”

Ditto Booklist with, “Preschoolers will recognize how it feels to be big but just a mite in a grown-up world, and they will enjoy the playful rhymes and simple wordplay as much as the bold scenarios of the tiniest creatures in danger from giants, and one hero who sees it coming.”

And Kirkus was entirely won over when they said, “With their wide noses, long ears, four-fingered paws and buck teeth, these fuzzy characters are a riot. Put away your cleaning supplies for a little messy fun.”

In terms of Dust Bunny costumes, nobody beats these guys.  Nobody.

If you’d care to watch me read the book that is something I can provide:

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. Oh wow, as it so happens I’ve made this into a readers theater and my second graders are regaling us all this last week of school.

    Good call, Bob.

  2. Jennifer in GA says:

    This was the sleeper hit of my preschool class this year. I think if I had read it every day for the whole school year they would have laughed just as hard as they did on Day One.

  3. This is quickly becoming one of my favorite go-to read-alouds. It works for older kids and younger kids! And grown-ups!

  4. Am I the only one who hears the voices of Veggie Tales characters in my head when reading this book?


    Okay, just me then.

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      Now that you mention it, I suppose I do! I’d never really identified which voices I prefer, but if I were to select them for the Rhyming Dust Bunnies TV show (oh you just KNOW somebody’s pitching that right now) that would be where I’d go. Either that or crazy celebrities. Bob as James Earl Jones, say.

  5. Mother Lydia says:

    (I used to be My Boaz’s Ruth but then had a daughter named Ruth so had to change my blog name)

    I missed your poll this year 🙁 That’s what comes when you get too busy to read blogs for a while!

    But I bought this book based on your review and now my son is reading it for himself! We love it. Especially for teaching the concept of rhyming!