How Rabbit Lost His Tail

How Rabbit Lost His Tail

by Jacqueline Chwast, Ann Tompert
     
 

One moonlit night when the world was young, Rabbit danced in a grove of willow trees, nibbling twigs from a raspberry bush and dreaming of the coming spring. Rabbit's tail flowed out behind him, for in those days it was long and thick like Squirrel's tail is today. In How Rabbit Lost His Tail, based on a Seneca legend, Ann Tompert's playful text and Jacqueline

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Overview

One moonlit night when the world was young, Rabbit danced in a grove of willow trees, nibbling twigs from a raspberry bush and dreaming of the coming spring. Rabbit's tail flowed out behind him, for in those days it was long and thick like Squirrel's tail is today. In How Rabbit Lost His Tail, based on a Seneca legend, Ann Tompert's playful text and Jacqueline Chwast's elegant illustrations tell the story of Rabbit's embarrassing loss long ago in the magic of a woodland spring.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Tompert has fashioned a good and simple porquoi tale from the Native American legend; Chwast's bold, color-drenched artwork, woodcut in style, gives the story a welcome verve." Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly - Cahners\\Publishers_Weekly
"A long time ago when the world was young, Rabbit's tail was not short and stubby like it is now. It was once long and flowing like Squirrel's." Based on a Senecan legend, Tompert's (Just a Little Bit) lighthearted rendition owes most of its interest to Chwast's (What Are Roses For?) charming retro illustrations. For most of the tale, Rabbit is stranded in a willow tree, appealing in vain to other animals for help; when the rabbit complains of hunger, Porcupine says, "Climb down or starve." The minimal dramatic build-up is provided mainly by the unhelpful animals' teasing him for being afraid to jump. Finally Rabbit musters the courage, but his tail catches in the tree and from that day on, he and "all members of Rabbit's tribe had little stubby tails" while willow trees sport fuzzy tails in the spring. Chwast's delectable, sprightly watercolors, with thick black lines and soft solid colors, resemble woodcuts. She adds humor to the rabbit's plight as he clings to his branch, sporting a pink-and-orange striped shirt and looking terribly concerned. Her illustrations add much-needed sweetness and kick to a fairly sour little tale.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
"A long time ago when the world was young, Rabbit's tail was not short and stubby like it is now. It was once long and flowing like Squirrel's." Based on a Senecan legend, Tompert's (Just a Little Bit) lighthearted rendition owes most of its interest to Chwast's (What Are Roses For?) charming retro illustrations. For most of the tale, Rabbit is stranded in a willow tree, appealing in vain to other animals for help; when the rabbit complains of hunger, Porcupine says, "Climb down or starve." The minimal dramatic build-up is provided mainly by the unhelpful animals' teasing him for being afraid to jump. Finally Rabbit musters the courage, but his tail catches in the tree and from that day on, he and "all members of Rabbit's tribe had little stubby tails" while willow trees sport fuzzy tails in the spring. Chwast's delectable, sprightly watercolors, with thick black lines and soft solid colors, resemble woodcuts. She adds humor to the rabbit's plight as he clings to his branch, sporting a pink-and-orange striped shirt and looking terribly concerned. Her illustrations add much-needed sweetness and kick to a fairly sour little tale. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3A simple pourquoi story, based on a Seneca legend. Rabbit, who once had a long bushy tail like a squirrel, believes for a foolish moment that his fast running has made the snow fall. He hops onto a snow drift and then to a willow tree branch to take a nap. When he awakens, it is spring, the snow drifts have melted, and he is stranded high up in the branches and can't get down. His friends are unable to solve the dilemma until Squirrel tells him to jump: Rabbit does, but his tail remains stuck in the tree. Ever since, the tiny white tails hanging on willows in spring remind us of him. Rabbit's punishment seems rather excessive for a misguided moment of pride. Chwast does not base her art on the Seneca roots of the legend, but her cartoon illustrations nicely balance the text, with characters created in pastel colors outlined in black and dressed in human clothing. However, neither text nor pictures make this book unique. A slight story with not much of a point.Judith Constantinides, East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA
Kirkus Reviews
Seneca legend has it that Rabbit once had a long and flowing tail; Tompert (A Carol for Christmas, 1994) and Chwast offer a sturdy look at just how he lost it.

Rabbit, busy snacking in a willow grove, is giddy and begins to race around a willow tree. Snow begins to fall, and "it seemed to Rabbit that the faster he raced around the willow tree, the faster and thicker the snow fell." Exhausted, he falls asleep on a willow branch and doesn't wake up until spring, when he discovers that without snow, he is stranded high above the ground. Porcupine, Badger, and Beaver can't help the scared Rabbit climb down, but Squirrel suggests that he jump. Rabbit takes the plunge, but his tail remains behind, stuck in the crotch of the tree. Tompert has fashioned a good and simple porquoi tale from the Native American legend; Chwast's bold, color-drenched artwork, woodcut in style, gives the story a welcome verve.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780395822814
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
02/28/1997
Edition description:
None
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
9.75(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.13(d)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

JACQUELINE CHWAST lives in Astoria, New York, and has illustrated over 50 books for children, including The Perilous Pit , a New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Children's Books of 1993.

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