Dipping into the grassy, blossoming palette of his My Garden, Henkes depicts a bunny's spring day. His sequence salutes Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd's classic The Runaway Bunny, for this little white rabbit also has a good imagination. "When he hopped through the high grass, he wondered what it would be like to be green," and "When he hopped by the fir trees, he wondered what it would be like to be tall." Each time the rabbit ponders another way of life, a wordless spread follows, picturing him camouflaged, tree-height, or transformed into a stone bunny for an entire day. Spying a cat, the bunny darts home to nuzzle a mother rabbit (also reminiscent of Brown and Hurd's): "he didn't wonder who loved him." In Henkes's colored pencil and acrylic closeups of the young rabbit, a moss-green outline and typeface (rather than a neutral black or brown) suggest verdant meadows and warm forests. Cool pink, soft blue, and dandelion yellow wildflowers will remind some of an Easter basket. Sweet and soft, this picture book heralds a sunny spring. Ages 2–7. (Feb.)
Children's Literature - Heidi Hauser Green
Readers expect the best of Caldecott Award-winning Kevin Henkes, and they will not be disappointed. An imaginative young bunny hops through his environment, letting his imagination run wild. As he goes through high grass, he imagines what it would be like to be green. Passing by fir trees, he thinks about what it would be like to be talltaller than the trees. He sees a rock and wonders what it would be like to be stationary. He sees butterflies and thinks about flying. Then, he sees a cat! What does he think of? Home. The innocence and curiosity of childhood are well represented in this story, but it is the artwork that makes it a hit. Pictures of Little White Rabbit in his environment are framed, while the scenes of his imagination are boundless, extending to the page's edges and, one of might think, beyond. The final page makes it clear that Little White Rabbit, while home for now, will be off exploring and imagining again soonand that is as it should be. Sure to be a hit with children and adult alike, this book is a good selection for home, preschool, or public libraries. Reviewer: Heidi Hauser Green
Kristi Elle Jemtegaard
Kevin Henkes's Little White Rabbit is a paean to the power of the imagination, a pastel song of praise that evokes the same unfettered joy as his My Garden (2010) and A Good Day (2007).
The Washington Post
Horn Book (starred review)
“Bold lines, expressive movement, and the springtime palette of pink, blue, and lush woodsy greens will delight the child’s eye.”
"Bold lines, expressive movement, and the springtime palette of pink, blue, and lush woodsy greens will delight the child’s eye."
School Library Journal
PreS—A quiet gem of a picture book about a small bunny with a big imagination. "When he hopped through the high grass, he wondered what it would be like to be green." Each burst of curiosity is followed by a spread of envisioning. For example, when he wonders what it would be like to be tall as a fir tree, readers are treated to a depiction of a huge rabbit leaning on the upper boughs of a hemlock, communing with the birds. In the tradition of Eric Carle's The Mixed-Up Chameleon (Crowell, 1975) and Margaret Wise Brown's The Runaway Bunny (HarperCollins, 1942), Little White Rabbit is perfect for preschoolers. The colored pencil and acrylic illustrations in cheery springtime pastels have fuzzy textures and broad outlines that are enormously appealing. Henkes often manages to combine the static and kinetic so that his protagonist seems frozen in mid-leap. And just when you think this little rabbit has settled in for the night with his loving family, that lively curiosity reappears, ready to begin another adventure.—Susan Weitz, formerly at Spencer-Van Etten School District, Spencer, NY