Tag: rabbits

Hare and Tortoise by Alison Murray

Hare and Tortoise by Alison Murray

Hare and Tortoise by Alison Murray (InfoSoup)

This picture book is a retelling of the classic Aesop fable. The story is much the same with the added tantalizing feature of a carrot patch to get Hare to slow down and eat and then take a nap. As always, Tortoise simply walks along, not zipping at all. Hare awakens from his nap just that critical second too late and misses winning by a hair. The entire book is wonderfully accessible and readable with humorous touches added like diagrams of both Hare and Tortoise and their advantages and disadvantages. It reads aloud nicely, the pace happily more like Hare than Tortoise throughout.

Murray’s illustrations are large and will work well when shared with a group. Hare is a bounding and lean while Tortoise is rounded and with a determined set to his jaw. The illustrations show clearly that Tortoise is behind and the long walk he has to the finish line. While the snoozing Hare has the setting sun behind his full belly after leaving a trail of munched carrots.

Clever and jolly, this enduring tale is brightened by a fresh take. Appropriate for ages 3-6.

Reviewed from library copy.

 

The Knowing Book by Rebecca Kai Dotlich

The Knowing Book by Rebecca Kai Dotlich

The Knowing Book by Rebecca Kai Dotlich, illustrated by  Matthew Cordell (InfoSoup)

This picture book begins with the reminder that the sky is always above you, no matter what. A little rabbit with a long scarf makes his way along an adventure with a wise narrator explaining that there are wonderful things alive in this world. There is magic where you least expect it. There is adventure if you leave the mapped roads. It is OK to both hum and cry. It’s important to trust yourself. The little rabbit gains skills on his adventure and lots of confidence too. In the end, the book returns again to the permanence of the sky above us and its beauty.

This book is completely encouraging, explaining to youth exactly what it takes to live a life filled with bravery and authenticity. In many ways it would make a great graduation gift as teens set off into the world. Yet it still works well as a picture book for younger children where the large concepts inside can be discussed and their importance reinforced in conversations. It’s a book that celebrates the individual and their personal journey through life, one that asks us all to follow our own roads and live as we were meant to live.

Cordell’s illustrations are lovely. Their fluid lines and deep colors reinforce both the necessary fluidity of life and our journey and then also the beauty of the world around us if we take time to see it. His little rabbit is entirely engaging, making sure that the book stays relevant to younger children.

An inspirational read that is all about living your personal life and following your own path, this picture book is just right for young and old. Appropriate for ages 4 and older.

Reviewed from library copy.

 

 

Review: Thank You and Good Night by Patrick McDonnell

Thank You and Good Night by Patrick McDonnell

Thank You and Good Night by Patrick McDonnell (InfoSoup)

Clement, Jean and Alan Alexander were having a pajama party at Clement’s house. The three bounce on the bed together, do the chicken dance, and have a funny-face contest. They played hide-and-seek, had a snack and watched the stars. They all started to get sleepy, so they got ready for bed but still had enough energy to listen to a bedtime story. They ended their party with a list of the things they were thankful for, a very long list.

McDonnell channels the energy and feel of every great classic bedtime read in this new book. He lets us in on the fun of a sleepover, focusing on all of the small things that make for a wonderful night with friends. His recap of the day with gratitude is something that many families can incorporate into their days, whether they are having a pajama party or not. It again returned the focus to those simple joys of life and time spent with one another.

The art has a gorgeous dreamy quality to it at times and other times has a zesty playfulness. The pleasure of the small animals playing with one another and not being sleepy at all transitions beautifully to sleepy creatures headed for bed. The final scene where they are revealed to be stuffed animals belonging to a little girl is particularly lovely.

A gentle bedtime story filled with lots of play and then bedtime for everyone. Yawn! Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from library copy.

Review: Ready Rabbit Gets Ready! by Brenna Maloney

Ready Rabbit Gets Ready by Brenna Maloney

Ready Rabbit Gets Ready! by Brenna Maloney (InfoSoup)

When Ready Rabbit wakes up in the morning, he doesn’t feel like getting right out of bed. But his mother keeps on calling him so he gets up. Then before he starts to get ready to go, he has to build a spaceship. His mother calls for him to pick up his toys and get ready to go. So Ready decides to get dressed. But what should he wear? He has all sorts of costumes to try on and consider until he remembers that rabbits don’t wear clothes! Breakfast is ready but Ready finds it quite boring to sit and eat. He’d rather be doing a daring rescue with an ambulance. Brushing teeth takes some concentration and before you know it, there’s toothpaste everywhere. Will Ready ever be ready for school?

Maloney creates the ultimate distracted child in Ready Rabbit, a rabbit who can’t concentrate on anything except his imagination. The voice of the mother only appears in voice bubbles and she never appears on the page. So the book is fully centered on the protagonist and his vivid imagination. The book works hard to make sure that the tone of the mother is encouraging and not angry and that Ready is actually slowly making progress towards getting ready even as he plays around.

The illustrations make this book particularly special. Ready Rabbit and all of his things are objects with Ready being a knit bunny with a face that is a piece of fabric with changing expressions drawn on it. One might not think it would work, but the result is charming and has a very different vibe than many picture books.

Families trying to get ready in the morning will recognize their own wish to play just a little bit longer. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Penguin.

Review: Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman

wolfie the bunny

Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Zachariah OHora

When the bunny family came home, they found a little bundle on their doorstep. It was a baby wolf! Mama and Papa were thrilled to take him in, but Dot knew that the wolf was going to eat them all. Still, the bunny family took Wolfie in. Dot kept an eye on him all night long, and tried again at breakfast to warn her family that they were going to be eaten. No one listened, again. Finally, Dot’s friends agreed that Dot was right and they went to play somewhere else. When she got back, Wolfie would not leave Dot alone. Days went by and Wolfie started to grow and grow. He also started to eat and eat, so Dot was sent to the store along with Wolfie. It was there that Wolfie finally showed his fangs, but it doesn’t turn out in the way that Dot was expecting!

Dyckman has created a very clever little book that shows adoption and new siblings in a fresh way. Dot is convinced from the very beginning that taking in Wolfie is a bad idea and that it will be catastrophic for her family. This feeling of doom is very much what human children feel when a new baby is announced. Wolfie goes through all of the steps of a new sibling, from getting all of the attention to being a pest. Yet through the entire book, Dyckman keeps the focus on wolves and bunnies and how it will all play out, creating a welcome added dynamic to the story.

OHora’s illustrations add to the humor on the page. Done in acrylic, the illustrations have a signature flat feeling to them that is very modern. They capture the cheerful bunny family, the worried Dot, and the adorable Wolfie. OHora also creates a dynamic neighborhood for the story to take place in that makes the entire book feel grounded and real. Or as real as a book about wolves and bunnies can be.

Clever, funny and bright, this picture book captures have a new sibling in a fresh way. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from library copy.

Review: Here in the Garden by Briony Stewart

here in the garden

Here in the Garden by Briony Stewart

Released March 1, 2015.

This import from Australia tells the seasonal story of a boy and his garden.  A boy spends time in his backyard, but is missing someone.  The wind blows, he plants seedlings in the garden, and dreams of his special someone joining his side.  When the rain comes, he watches from the back steps, still missing the one who would love to see the garden turn so green.  Summer comes with its sunshine and heat and the boy continues to feel his loss but begins to realize that he can still be in touch with the one he misses by being out in nature and enjoying the same things they used to do together.

Stewart beautifully allows the book to speak to anyone who has experienced loss.  In the end though, this book is clearly about the loss of a pet rabbit, the same one who is pictured at the boy’s side throughout the story.  That reveal is done tenderly and gently, clearly tying the boy to nature and to his memories of all the times they had together.  It’s beautifully and caringly presented.

Stewart’s art is washed in watercolors, colors that sweep and blow across the page, evoking the movement of air and the freshness of outdoors.  Though the book is filled with loneliness, the art remains resolutely lovely and cheery.  Even the one in the dark of night is filled with a light that illuminates.

A quiet story of grief, loss and the healing power of nature, this is a lovely little foreign title.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from digital galley received from Kane Miller.

Review: Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny by John Himmelman

tales of bunjitsu bunny

Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny by John Himmelman

Isabel is the best at Bunjitsu in her school.  They call her Bunjitsu Bunny, but she knows to never use her martial arts skills to hurt anyone, unless she has to.  This easy reader features a series of short stories about her Buntjitsu skills and how she uses them throughout the day.  Isabel figures out before anyone else in her class how to get into the school when the door is locked.  She outwits pirates who want to steal from her.  She races a tortoise in a fresh take on the Tortoise and the Hare story.  In one story after the other, Isabel shows her poise, her intelligence and her sense of honor. 

This book for the early chapter book reader will appeal on many fronts.  First of course is the martial arts aspect, though those looking for flying fists and fighting will find something very different here.  Inside the covers is a unique mix of Eastern philosophy and problem solving that is presented at a level that children will understand. 

Himmelman’s illustrations offer just the right amount of break for young readers, so that they will not be put off by the amount of text.  The fonts are equally welcoming with their large size.  The illustrations are done in black, white and red.  They are welcoming and cartoony, created often with just a few lines that carry plenty of action and humor.

A unique and fascinating chapter book for new readers, this is a wonderful mix of girl power, martial arts and restraint.  Appropriate for ages 6-8.

Reviewed from copy received from Henry Holt and Co.