A belated Happy New Year and blessings of creativity to everyone! I’ve been under the weather since the first week of January and alas, was not up to the last two PPBF. But I’ve recovered…so on with my PPBF pick for this week. (Susanna Leonard Hill is the originator of PPBF and you can find all the other PPB recommendations and links on her blog.)
Title: My Friend Rabbit
Author: Eric Rohmann
Illustrator: Eric Rohmann
Publisher: Roaring Book Press, 2002
Genre: Picture Book
Audience Age: 2 – 8
Themes/Topics: Friendship, Loyalty
Opening Sentences: “My friend Rabbit means well. But whatever he does, wherever he goes, trouble follows.”
Synopsis: Mouse and his friend Rabbit are playing together with Mouse’s toy airplane when it gets stuck in a tree. Rabbit’s solution of building a pyramid of animals to retrieve the plane brings more trouble.
Why I like it: In less than 100 words a humorous story about friendship and loyalty is presented; many of the pages have no text. The brevity of words draws you into the art, which won Rohman a Caldecott Honor. The supporting characters of elephant, rhino, hippo, reindeer, bear, alligator, duck and squirrel are enormously and comically portrayed in hand colored relief prints as bold as Rabbit’s idea. When reading the book to them, my grandgirls picked up on the mounting problem and had their hands over their mouths and eyes wide open anticipating the next page. They squealed out loud at the climax of the story when a mountain of animals come tumbling down. Instantly they demanded a reread and then after the second time they each wanted to ‘talk the pictures’ (their version of reading the book.) And the 4-yr-old was already quoting the phrase, “Not to worry, Mouse. I have an idea.” The illustrations vary from taking up just the bottom corner to completely filling a two-page vertical spread. Because of the limited text it invites discussion and interpretation of the pictures. You’ll want to closely study the pictures for the subtle advancement of the story. Rohman himself says, “This book also began with many words and as I made the images I saw that the silliness was best left to the pictures.” The Rabbit is one lucky character because he has a friend who sees his shortcomings, but is loyal to the end. I would enjoy having this book in my personal library not just for the illustrations, but for the delightful, simple, funny story of a special friendship
and there is a TV/internet show based on the book complete with all the characters: Go here to watch and find the schedule.
Blessings & enjoy the book!!