From the Publisher
"This gentler sequel [to The Great Hamster Massacre] again showcases Davies’ laconic style and deadpan humor, so well-matched to the chapter-book format. Neatly complementing the text, Shaw’s sly, witty illustrations, pie charts and graphics are a treat. A welcome return for the indomitable Anna."
--Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2011
"Readers will enjoy Anna's narration, which has an animated, slightly rambling style that really sounds like how a nine-year-old would tell a story. It's also a joy to read about a group of children who spend most of their time playing make-believe games rather than parking themselves in front of a screen. Line drawings pepper the text, giving the book a "Wimpy Kid" feel."
--School Library Journal, January 2012
Barely pausing from their labors, recounted in The Great Hamster Massacre (2011), Anna and Suzanne return to sow more mayhem. Again, their focus is pets; this time, it's Joe-down-the-street's New Rabbit. Joe's obsessed with protecting it from harm, but now that he's moving in with his dad, whose landlord prohibits pets, Joe must leave New Rabbit behind. Because her family's New Cat was the indirect cause of Old Rabbit's demise, Anna is determined to protect its successor. Joe's strategy of standing guard with a Super Soaker to repel predators is not an option, but the girls are up to the challenge. Aided by Anna's little brother, Tom, they concoct a splendid, if very complicated, plan to keep New Rabbit safe. (Clandestine visits to mean Miss Matheson's compost heap, technical assistance from retired police officer Mrs. Rotherham and a working knowledge of Beatrix Potter are involved.) The plan appears to work until New Rabbit gets sick. Joe isn't doing well, either. Could they be pining for each other? While reintroducing characters slows the pace at first, once underway, this gentler sequel again showcases Davies' laconic style and deadpan humor, so well-matched to the chapter-book format. Neatly complementing the text, Shaw's sly, witty illustrations, pie charts and graphics are a treat. A welcome return for the indomitable Anna. (Fiction. 8-12)
School Library Journal
Gr 3–5—Nine-year-old Anna loves to play make-believe games, so she really gets into the role of "rabbit bodyguard" when Joe-down-the-street moves in with his father and has to leave his rabbit at his mother's house. Deserting his pet is a huge source of anxiety because he fears the worst will happen if it is unprotected. Anna, her little brother, and a friend decide to take up guard duty, but in the process they unwittingly nearly kill the animal. Tense middle-of-the-night drama ensues, but fortunately all ends well. Making the ending even happier is the fact that Joe will be moving back in with his mom, which is where he wanted to live all along. Readers will enjoy Anna's narration, which has an animated, slightly rambling style that really sounds like how a nine-year-old would tell a story. It's also a joy to read about a group of children who spend most of their time playing make-believe games rather than parking themselves in front of a screen. Line drawings pepper the text, giving the book a "Wimpy Kid" feel. On the downside, animal lovers may have a hard time reading about the rabbit being sick. Also, it seems odd that Anna, Suzanne, and Tom don't express guilt or remorse over almost killing the rabbit. Overall, this sequel to The Great Hamster Massacre (S & S, 2011) is a nonessential purchase.—Amy Holland, Irondequoit Public Library, NY
Read an Excerpt
This is a story about Joe-down-the-street, and why he went away, and how he got rescued. Most stories I’ve read about people getting rescued aren’t Real-Life Stories. They’re Fairy Stories, about Sleeping Beauty, and Rapunzel, and people like that. And they probably aren’t true, because in Real Life people don’t prick their fingers on spindles very much and fall asleep for a hundred years. And if they did, they probably wouldn’t wake up just because someone gave them a kiss on the cheek, like Sleeping Beauty did. Even if the person who kissed them was a Prince.
Because, in Real Life, when people are really deep asleep, you have to shake them, and shout, “WAKE UP!” in their ear, and hit them on the head with the xylophone sticks. Otherwise they don’t wake up at all. My Dad doesn’t, anyway. And nor does my little brother, Tom. He falls asleep on the floor, and he doesn’t wake up when Mom carries him upstairs and puts him in his pajamas and stands him up at the toilet. Not even once when he peed on his feet.
Tom is five. He’s four years younger than me. I’m nine. My name is Anna.
Also, in Real Life, people don’t let down their hair from towers for other people to climb up and rescue them and things, like happens in Rapunzel. Because you can’t really climb up hair very well, especially not when it’s still growing on someone’s head. You can’t climb up Emma Hendry’s hair, anyway, because Graham Roberts once tried to, in PE, when Emma was up the wall bars. And Emma fell off, and Mrs. Peters wasn’t pleased. And neither was Emma. She was winded. Emma’s got the longest hair in school. She can sit on it if she wants to. It’s never been cut. Mrs. Peters sent a note home to Emma’s Mom because Emma’s hair kept getting caught in doors, and drawers, and things like that, and she said, “Emma Hendry, that hair is a Death Trap!”
Which is true. Especially with Graham Roberts around. So now Emma’s hair gets tied up, and on PE days it has to go under a net.
Anyway, this story isn’t a Made-Up Story, or a Fairy Story like Sleeping Beauty or Rapunzel or anything like that. It’s a Real Rescue Story. And that means that everything in it Actually Happened. I know it did, because I was there. And so was my little brother, Tom. And so was my friend Suzanne Barry, who lives next door.
This is what it says in my dictionary about what a rescue is . . .
to help someone or something out of a
dangerous, harmful, or unpleasant situation
And this is what it says in my friend Suzanne’s dictionary . . .
to free or deliver from confinement or peril
Mom said that me and Suzanne and Tom were wrong about Joe-down-the-street and that he was never even in any danger or peril in the first place.
She said, “Anna, Joe has gone to live with his Dad because he wants to. He definitely does not need to be rescued!”
But moms don’t always know everything about who might need rescuing. Because once, when I was in Big Trouble for falling through the shed roof in the back lane by mistake, I decided that I didn’t like living at our house anymore, and I told Mom, “I wish I lived with Mrs. Rotherham up the road!”
And Mom said, “So do I!”
So I packed my bag, and I went off up the road.
When I got to Mrs. Rotherham’s house, I decided I didn’t really want to live there. But I had to by then, because that’s what I’d said. So I went in. And I sat in the window by myself and stared out and didn’t speak. And, after ages, there was a knock on the door. It was Tom, in his Batman pajamas and his Bob the Builder hard hat.
And Mrs. Rotherham said, “Hello, Tom. Are you all on your own?”
And Tom said, “I am Batman and Bob the Builder. I want Anna to come home.”
So I did. And that was a rescue, really, what Tom did. Because, even though I like Mrs. Rotherham a lot, I didn’t really want to live with her. Because I’d rather live in my own house, with Tom. And Mom and Dad. And Andy and Joanne. (That’s my other brother and my sister. They aren’t in this story because they’re older than me and Tom, and they don’t really care about rabbits, or rescues.) Anyway, if Tom hadn’t rescued me, I would probably still be living with Mrs. Rotherham now. So I’m glad he did. Because, for one thing, Mrs. Rotherham’s house is at the wrong end of the road. And, for another thing, it smells a bit strange, of old things, and mothballs, like Nana’s house used to. And, for an even other thing, if I lived with Mrs. Rotherham, I wouldn’t live next door to Suzanne anymore.
© 2010 Katie Davies