Tag Archives: Rabbits

The Constant Rabbit – Jasper Fforde

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Hachette

JUN 30, 2020 | 9781444763638 | RRP $32.99

In my opinion there are simply not enough books with rabbits as main characters (as she looks down at her rabbit-patterned PJs and rabbit-y slippers – well, what did you expect with my surname?). Jasper Fforde has brought his amazing brand of satirical humour to this new stand-alone novel and it’s a gem. It’s quirky and highly imaginative, full of extremely funny puns/play on words (particularly love the Rabbit-y adaptations of books and movies), absurd fantasy, thoroughly engaging protagonists and satisfyingly nasty villains and all in all is the most enjoyable romp through a rather far-fetched but very allegorical sort of dystopian UK.

In a parallel Britain of 2020 there are 1.2 million human-sized rabbits walking (as well as leaping and gambolling), talking, driving cars, working (most of them in not very highly paid jobs) and mostly living in colonies which are pretty over-crowded – as one would expect – and not well supported with infrastructure. This strange circumstance was caused by an spontaneous Inexplicable Anthropomorphism event some fifty-five years previously. It wasn’t just rabbits to be fair. There were a few other similar occurrences elsewhere in the world – an elephant in Africa, a ram in Australia, but in the main it was the UK affected with the majority rabbits but also some foxes, weasels and a few singular animals such as guinea pigs involved.

Though the rabbits have attained some rights, their lot is mostly pretty dismal and heavily restricted. They are always the target of various law enforcement agencies, with one dedicated purely to their harassment, and some rather nasty vigilante-type groups.

Peter Knox lives in a quiet village with his daughter Pippa. His neighbours are pretty hard-nose leporiphobics politically speaking but Peter, who works as an official Spotter for RabCoTRabbit Compliance Taskforce, formerly known as Rabbit Crime Taskforce – has never had any real issue with them. But when Doc and Constance Rabbit move in next door, Peter and Pippa are left in no doubt that one can be a friend to humans or a friend to rabbits but not to both.

The litany of injustices, hatred, bigotry and oppression towards the rabbits will resonate with many currently, given recent global focus on similar actions towards disenfranchised sectors of society. Some of the action, promulgated by the PM and Cabinet as a ‘positive’, is chillingly like the Nazi regime’s treatment of the Jewish people with the proposed forced relocation to MegaWarren frighteningly similar to removal to ghettos.

What Peter is to find out is that he is not as tolerant as he’s always believed himself to be and that humanity, his own humanity, is in need of some gentle rabbit influence. This is marvelously wrought throughout with the reader completely engrossed in the fantastical plot and with much upon which to reflect, both within ourselves and within our society.

Although primarily a novel for adults, I would have no hesitation in recommending this highly for your senior students and believe that for studies of parallel real events and circumstances it would provide rich fodder for debate and discussion.

How can you go wrong? I mean to say, it’s rabbits. 🙂

The Curse of the School Rabbit – Judith Kerr

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Harper Collins

July 2019

ISBN: 9780008352608

ISBN 10: 0008352607

Imprint: HarperCollins Children’sBooks

 

The late Judith Kerr’s final book, like all her glorious work, is quintessentially English, gently humorous and full of everyday adventure and family life.

When Snowball the school rabbit needs to be rabbit-sat for a time, Tommy’s little sister, Angie, is ecstatic. Tommy is less so having never forgiven Snowball for peeing on him. Nevertheless, Snowball settles in reasonably well and Tommy is mollified by his rabbit-keeping fee – particularly as he’s really been wanting a new bike but knows with his actor father out of work that’s not likely to happen for Christmas.

It’s even more unlikely when Snowball pees on the leg of a famous (though incredibly old) actor with whom Tommy’s father might get some work. Then Angie gets really sick and things are quite serious in the household. Tommy’s story for the school writing competition becomes one about a cursed rabbit as it seems to him that everything has taken a downward turn since Snowball came to stay.

But fortunately events turn around not only with a Shakespearean role for Dad and Angie’s recovery but a whole new exciting movie venture featuring a boy and a rabbit! Who knew?

This is a joy to read and children from around six years upwards will greatly enjoy its humour, emotions and descriptions. For me it’s a keeper – a beautiful reminder of the immense joy and richness which Judith Kerr brought into the lives of so many of us.