Tag Archives: Rabbits

Hopping towards Easter (already!)

Standard

It’s true that the start of this year has been fraught – not to put too fine a point on it. In my house: switch jobs on the last day of holidays, school is delayed by a week for The Kid, a week or so later The Kid is not well and after a couple of days tests positive for Covid, so we’re both in quarantine for a week, get over that (negative test on the Thursday) so she still can’t go to school on the Friday as its pupil-free at her school, freak extreme rain/storm event in Qld causing flooding all weekend, schools closed for two days but she still can’t get to school as the trains are not yet running after the floods, then we all get sent home on Thursday and schools are closed again on Friday. So she’s not been to school for three of the six weeks of term, and I’ve missed a week and a half. Seriously, can we just have 2021 back? I promise not to complain again! Meanwhile, now it’s a mere few weeks until Easter bounces around again but I want to give the heads up on these two beauties so that you have time to get them!!

The Tale of Peter Rabbit – Beatrix Potter

[120th Anniversary picture book edition]

Penguin Australia

March 2022

  • ISBN: 9780241545379
  • Imprint: Warne
  • RRP: $16.99

I truly wish you could see just how glorious this is with its stunning gold foil cover! If ever a fictional character deserved such a beautiful anniversary edition, it must surely be Peter, whose adventures and near-escapes have been enthralling little readers for over a century with completely undiminished love and enthusiasm.

When Beatrix wrote her first little story, naming the central character after her own childhood pet, purely for the amusement of a sick child, I feel sure she had no accurate idea of his enduring appeal, though she was certainly astute. Indeed, when friends urged her to publish the story, it was soundly rejected by numerous publishers and so, boldly, she published it herself. The rest, as they say, is history. The initial success prompted Frederick Warne & Co to issue it commercially and now, 120 years later, it has sold in excess of 45 millions copies, been translated into 36 languages, and spawned so much merchandising, film versions and spin-off books. Potter, herself, saw the possibilities for marketing with her own creations of a soft toy, a board game and nursery wallpaper in the first few years following publication.

In the intervening years, it is difficult to think of an ‘incarnation’ of Peter in merchandise that has been left untouched and yet, despite, what is almost saturation this rather naughty little rabbit, his friends and family – and even his nemesis – continue to delight children around the world.

This beautiful edition is absolutely worthy of honouring the longevity of the first little white book with its adherence to Potter’s original illustrations but now fully in colour and such gorgeous endpapers!

If you have a special little person in your circle, expecting a new arrival or simply to add to your collection to celebrate this significant literary milestone, you should order your copy immediately.

The Unfunny Bunny – Adrian Beck and James Hart

Penguin Australia

  • March 2022
  • ISBN: 9781761043093
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • RRP: $17.99

Ok, I admit, this is not Peter Rabbit or even close to it – but it is really very funny, and it will have your kiddos rolling around like Easter eggs on a slippery slope. For reading aloud adults like myself, it’s completely the joy of so many rabbit-related puns that brings the joy (particularly given my penchant for all things rabbit). For the munchkins this is just part of the fun with the rhymes and the hare-larious antics of the family adding to the mix (NOT MIX-omatosis!!).

I have to say after the deluge of a week we’ve had in the Sunshine State the premise of a washed-out Easter doesn’t seem beyond the realms of possibility, but fingers crossed our wild weather will have settled by then!

’Twas the night before EASTER
When I spotted the BUNNY!
So I offered to help
Make the EGG HUNT more FUNNY!

James’ illustrations which make the bunny-impersonating kid look as much like a rabbit as the actual rabbit looks like a rabbit make me laugh just by seeing them, and the riotous colours, facial expressions plus the weird and wonderful situations, all add up to one laugh-out-loud reading experience.

My prediction is that when offered up as a read-aloud – the reading will inevitably finish up with ‘AGAIN!’ from your audience.

I highly recommend you rush out and buy both of these – different but so very appropriate, particularly as Easter gifts (my girls always got books PLUS chocolate!) – and enjoy them both!

The Constant Rabbit – Jasper Fforde

Standard

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

Standard

x293

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.