Don't Go Near That Rabbit, Frank

Overview

Philip Russell Jenkins and his sister, Kooch, have a big problem. The crotchety farmer next door, Old Man Hoover, has threatened to shoot their beloved dog, Frank, dead on the spot if he ever catches him near his prize rabbit. One stormy night, Frank brings that rabbit home . . . between his teeth. Philip and Kooch must think up a scheme, and think it up fast, in order to save Frank from Old Man Hoover's wrath.

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Overview

Philip Russell Jenkins and his sister, Kooch, have a big problem. The crotchety farmer next door, Old Man Hoover, has threatened to shoot their beloved dog, Frank, dead on the spot if he ever catches him near his prize rabbit. One stormy night, Frank brings that rabbit home . . . between his teeth. Philip and Kooch must think up a scheme, and think it up fast, in order to save Frank from Old Man Hoover's wrath.

With a voice reminiscent of Scout's in To Kill a Mockingbird, Pam Conrad's retelling of this funny campfire favorite is masterful. Magnificent artwork by Mark English evokes steamy summer days gone by.

When their playful dog comes home with a dead rabbit, Philip and Kooch are afraid it is their gruff old neighbor's prize pet.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
When Philip and his sister, Kooch, get a puppy named Frank, crotchety Old Man Hoover next door issues a warning: "If that dog comes anywhere near my prize rabbit, I'll load my rifle and shoot him dead." The aged rabbit, Peter, is virtually all that the Hoovers have left of their 50-year-old farm, now the site of a newly developed neighborhood. The late Conrad (The Tub People) propels the plot with penetrating language ("a smile crept across [Hoover's] face and looked as awkward there as fine china on a barbecue table") as she expertly builds the momentum toward the inevitable conflict. One day, when Frank insists on going out in a heavy rainstorm, the children let him out on his own, and he returns with Peter dead in his mouth. Terrified of Old Man Hoover's rifle, Philip comes up with a plan to surreptitiously return the rabbit to its hutch. Later they learn that Peter was already dead and buried when Frank found him, and that their unintentional resurrection has completely mystified the Hoovers. Debut illustrator English's dense paintings -- 10 in all -- mostly envelop Philip and Kooch in a soft, nostalgic haze; the only sharply focused painting (also used on the jacket) is composed in such a way as to emphasize the vulnerability of the old rabbit. Suspenseful and thought-provoking, this carefully crafted animal story shows people not exactly at their best, but at their most human.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-Old Man Hoover, bitter because his potato farm has been turned into a housing development, dotes on his prize rabbit. He threatens to shoot Philip and Kooch's dog, Frank, if the dog ever touches the rabbit. One rainy night Frank returns home with the dead rabbit clenched in his jaws. In a panic, the children scheme to cover up the crime and return the rabbit to its cage. Days later they learn from their neighbor's wife that the rabbit died a natural death; their dog had merely unearthed it after it was buried. After the mysterious return of the animal, Old Man Hoover now thinks the rabbit won't stay dead and leaves its cage open expecting it to come back again. This news causes the children to dissolve into laughter. It is unclear whether they are laughing from relief or at their neighbor's behavior, which makes for a somewhat unsettling ending. The story has moderate tension and excitement although much of the text gives the impression of being told instead of lived, which flattens the effect. The illustrations, one every three or four pages, are dark, smooth, and impressionistic and lend a sense of atmosphere not found in the text. Additional at best.-Karen James, Louisville Free Public Library, KY
Kirkus Reviews
A homespun story from Conrad (This Mess), billed as a retelling of a campfire favorite. The single problem that forms the plot is Old Man Hoover's prize rabbit. When Philip and his sister Kooch move into the neighborhood that was once Old Man Hoover's potato field with their new puppy, Frank, he makes his message loud and clear from the start, "If that dog comes anywhere near my prize rabbit, I'll load my rifle and shoot him dead." His words reverberate in the children's minds as Frank becomes a full-grown dog. Then one rainy night, Frank appears with a muddy, rain-soaked rabbit in his teeth. Philip, despite Kooch's hesitation, shampoos and blow-dries the rabbit, and surreptitiously slips it back into its hutch; in a predictable, yet satisfying ending, Old Man Hoover, certain he had already buried his dead rabbit, puzzles over how his prize pet could have returned to its hutch. The children laugh at hearing about the dilemma; nothing is made of the potential spookiness of a dead rabbit's returning to its hutch, and Old Man Hoover, as far as readers know, is never enlightened. Interspersed among every short episode are full-color pictures, more dark and dreamlike than real, with the feeling of faded wallpaper, adding mood if not mystery.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060215149
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/1/1998
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 5 - 9 Years
  • Lexile: 730L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.32 (w) x 9.33 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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