Thank you to Silver Dolphin Books for sending me RABBIT & BEAR: RABBIT’S BAD HABITS to review in light of its Cybils nomination. All opinions are my own, but I was picked as Cybils panelist, so that should count for something, right?
What could be cuter than beautiful wintry scenes in tri-color illustration of a bear building a snowman meeting and befriending a rabbit who needs an attitude adjustment?
But this feel-good-story quickly does a fakeout and leads us into a long discussion about Rabbit eating his own poop.
And then it does another fakeout and teaches us a not-so-subtle lesson about loyalty, friendship, and emotional intelligence.
At 96 heavily-illustrated pages, the length and lack of chapters may intimidate a reluctant or unconfident reader at first glance, but between a snowman attack, a poop-eating sociopathic rabbit, and a hungry wolf, the story moves fast.
Julian Gough’s daughter Sophie apparently made him keep what I agree is the best line in the book: “I’m sick of having my dinner run away from me at forty miles an hour”.
Eoin Colfer (back jacket quote) could be right that Rabbit & Bear are in the leagues of Pooh and Frog & Toad… but let’s be honest, 21st century kids are used to (and may need) more gross-out humor and shock value to get the point home.
That’s the second time I’ve typed a similar sentiment in a children’s book review this week, and I’m not sure if that’s a transcendent breakthrough for society or a harbinger of its impending downfall.
Either way, this is a funny and sweet story, and kids will look forward to its sequel.
Congrats to author Julian Gough and illustrator Jim Field on your Cybils nomination!
RABBIT & BEAR: RABBIT’S BAD HABITS is available now from Silver Dolphin books.