Happy Kitty Bunny Pony: A Saccharine Mouthful of Super Cute by Charles S. Anderson Design Co. with text by Michael J. Nelson
"Step right up! See bunnies walking upright and wearing ... Victorian Era clothes! What's that? You say you'd rather die than see that? Perhaps this isn't the place for you."
The Charles S. Anderson Design Company is one of the world's most influential advertising graphics firms, listing among their clients such notables as Warner Brothers, Coca-Cola and Nike. Anderson and colleagues have worked to humanize the notoriously sterile world of corporate design through the use of hand-drawn graphics and an irreverent sense of humor. The Anderson Company's archives are just stuffed full of all sorts of advertising graphics from their wonderful and illustrious past—some of their best work has been exhibited in museums throughout the world. With all that material, there were bound to be some silly, frilly images, just waiting for a big Minnesotan to turn them into something hilarious.
This sounds like a job for Michael J. Nelson, erstwhile host and head writer of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Fresh from his fantastically funny movie review book Mike Nelson's Movie Megacheese; his clever, insightful and often weird book of essays and rants Mind Over Matters and his hip, crazy and seriously funny novel Death Rat, Nelson was the Minnesotan for the job.
Happy Kitty Bunny Pony (Harry N. Abrams Publishers, 2005) is 176 pages of the fuzziest, wuzziest, cutest, stupidest graphics that Mr. Nelson could find in the Anderson archives. Photos, illustrations, paintings (even paint by numbers), graphics and more; some are tasteless (sweetie happy deer head, stuffed and mounted on the wall; furry little kitty uses the litter box), some are weird (smiley piggie is split in half to show delicious hamsteaks; cuddly wabbit watches pretty blonde while she is skinny dipping) and some are freakishly mind-twisting (a psychedelic mandala made up of adorable lambs dressed up as equally adorable bunnies—whoa, man!).
Mike captions these pictures in his own sarcastic and off-the-wall fashion. The resulting book is outrageously funny. A big, beautiful, full-color production with heavy, slick pages and a clever plastic dust jacket, Happy Kitty Bunny Pony is a smaller than most coffee table books, but it would probably look good as one anyway.
Mike's captions are priceless. Here are a few examples:
"Right out of the gate, bunnies are adorable. But you take a gaggle of egg-headed, chubby little baby bunnies wearing vests and jumpers, and you've got cute that could choke a horse."
"In the cute war, bunnies kick major ass on hares every time."
"Some ponies have such severe 'Short Man's Disease' that they take karate classes, buy motorcycles and wear horseshoes with lifts in them."
"What's fuzzy, chubby, chirpy and cute? No, not Elton John, chicks!"
"To protect crops from hungry deer, some farmers install electric fences. Wily deer know how to avoid these, so farmers will sometimes put in trip wires, motion detectors and guided missiles."
What People Are Saying
A few readers, especially some of the ones who loved Movie Megacheese and Mind Over Matters seem to have been a little bit disappointed with Happy Kitty Bunny Pony. The text is spread a bit thin and if the reader is expecting the kind of wall-to-wall hilarity that Nelson's previous books offered, it is possible that this may not be what they were looking for.
Happy Kitty Bunny Pony is mostly a visual book. Every page has one or more sickeningly cutesy, full-color images and those alone are probably worth the $15 USD that the book costs—at least for hardcore lovers of kitsch.
Unlike Mr. Nelson's previous efforts, Happy Kitty Bunny Pony is not just a book to read, it is eye candy—okay, dizzyingly strange eye candy, but it is a super-size package of this weird candy and it can bring the reader repeated laughs. Set this weird book in the parlour, bathroom or den and your guests will be amused and bewildered.
Happy Kitty Bunny Pony is a book for the whole family, assuming you have a certain sort of family—we know who we are.