The Adventures of Little Nutbrown Hare by Sam McBratney
In this follow-up to the classic Guess How Much I Love You, McBratney gives us four new stories about the beautiful relationship between Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare. In the first story, the two wake up to discover that the Hiding Tree has fallen over during the night. Big immediately climbs the fallen tree, but Little is much more cautious until he’s playing hide-and-seek. The second story has the two rabbits climbing Cloudy Mountain. Little has a lot of fun finding dandelions and blowing them. So when the clouds start coming and making it hard to see, he gets cross when Big insists that it’s time to go. The third story has a lot of danger that Little seems to find and Big is always watching to keep him safe. Soon though, Little’s own inner voice is showing him the right choice. The final story returns the rabbits back home as they discuss Little’s favorite place.
All of the stories carry that same loving warmth as the original book. There is the ever-present but not smothering parental character and the mischievous child character. McBratney has managed to incorporate situations that human parents will face into a cloudy mountain and a large field. Children will recognize their parents’ efforts to keep them safe, redirect them, and be forced to change plans sometimes and spoil the fun.
McBratney’s The art is a large part of the charm here, but so is his writing style. He keeps it simple but sunny, always giving a cheery outlook in both images and text. Perhaps my favorite image is when Little is caught thinking of going into a big hole. His odd leap away from the hole when caught captures exactly the body-language of a child in the same situation.
This is bound to be embraced by parents who loved the first book. They will find themselves happily right back in the same loving, warm place. Expect plenty of bedtime repeat reads. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from library copy.