Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Review - "Little White Rabbit"

A new Kevin Henkes book is always cause for celebration in my land. This year offers two new titles, one for middle grade readers, Junonia, which I have access to, but haven't gotten around to reading just yet, and a shiny new picture book, Little White Rabbit, which has just arrived in my library. Just looking at this cover makes me smile, because it has that wonderful Henkes-ness. Bold outlines, beautiful colors. I occasionally want to hug Kevin Henkes books, but I do try my best to restrain myself. In Little White Rabbit, an imaginative little bunny sets off on an adventure, and wonders many things along his way. He wonders what life would be like if he were green, like the grass, turtles and frogs. He wonders what it would be like to be tall, like the fir trees. Each of these wonderings is followed by a two page spread imagining our little white rabbit in these situations: as still as a rock and fluttering like a butterfly. This continues until the rabbit comes across a cat, and wonders no more, and instead hops for home as fast as he can. The closing, textless illustration shows our rabbit surrounded by his family, he alone awake and peering at a flying insect, wondering things, no doubt.
I would place this next to Kitten's First Full Moon as my favorite of Henkes' non-mouse picture books. The illustrations are glorious, with the alternating bunny action shot, hopping through the page, with the imaginative two page spreads (my favorite of these is the 'fluttering like a butterfly' spread, featuring a contented bunny wagging his ears and his little tail as fast as he can to soar with the surrounding butterflies). The text is simple and repetitive, good for toddler and preschool audiences and the ending is sweet without being too saccharine. I'm still holding out for another mouse book starring Lilly and her family, but Little White Rabbit will do nicely for now. :)
Little White Rabbit by Kevin Henkes
2011, Greenwillow Books
Library copy

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