The Barnes & Noble Review
Hitting the heights with a shiny Caldecott Medal, this simply sweet friendship tale from Eric Rohmann has a well-intentioned Rabbit recruiting a few animals to help retrieve his pal's toy plane.
Mouse notes that there's one small problem with his best friend Rabbit: "Whatever he does, wherever he goes, trouble follows." So when Rabbit accidentally tosses Mouse's new airplane into a tree, the long-eared fellow cooks up an idea for setting things right. With a look of resolution in his eyes, Rabbit gathers a number of animals -- including a confused elephant, stubborn rhinoceros, and surprised crocodile -- stacking them up one by one into a great tower. None of the participants look too pleased, though, and when Mouse tops the pile and stretches his paws out, the tower winds up collapsing with a thunderous crash. Fortunately, little Mouse is able to catch hold of the plane, and he courageously flies in to snatch his friend away from the other annoyed animals. It's a happy rescue for frightened Rabbit, but of course, when he's involved, trouble is always around the corner.
Rohmann's winning book is hilarious and thoughtful, adding just the right perspective on the dynamics between two buddies. Readers will adore seeing all the animals' irked and quizzical expressions, while a central vertical spread featuring the pile-up will have readers wonderfully in suspense about what's to come. Using brilliant colored relief prints to give the antics a wacky yet vaguely fable-esque feel, Rohmann's gentle book will leave kids knowingly giggling and utterly rapt. Matt Warner
After the hero gets his friend Mouse's airplane stuck in a tree, he goes to great lengths to retrieve it, in this Caldecott Medal winner. In PW's words, "This gentle lesson in patience and loyalty, balanced on the back of a hilarious set of illustrations, will leave young readers clamoring for repeat readings." Ages 4-8. (Aug.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
You can pretty much guess the story from the first page in My Friend Rabbit. The narrator, a small brown mouse, tells us that his friend Rabbit, "means well. But whatever he does, wherever he goes, trouble follows." After Rabbit launches mouse's airplane into a tree, he drags a cast of creatures ten times his size into a ridiculous pile. Then he mounts the animal mountain to retrieve mouse's plane. Unlike many Caldecotts, this year's award honors a book for young children. And Rohmann got it right in terms of this audience. Rabbit has the silly slapstick humor that young listeners find sublime. A three-year-old will giggle when rabbit hauls the huge elephant, or hoists the fat purple hippo. In this book of few words, the "trouble follows" line is repeated three times, giving young children a place to participate. In terms of illustration, the colored wood-block prints are simple, the backgrounds clear, and page layouts dramatize the story with interesting perspectives and compositions. You have to turn the book to view the climax, a vertical rendering of the pile of precariously balanced animals. The animals' faces lend a strong feeling tone. Thankfully, messages are buried in this book which accents humor instead of moral. But the pictures and words provide comfort for children viewed as troublesome, and offer a strong argument for sticking with colorful, unique playmates. 2002, Roaring Book Press,
School Library Journal
A simple story about Rabbit and Mouse, who, despite Rabbit's penchant for trouble, are friends. When Rabbit launches his toy airplane (with Mouse in the pilot seat at takeoff) and it gets stuck in a tree, he convinces his friend that he will come up with a plan to get it down. He does so by stacking animals on top of one another (beginning with an elephant and a rhinoceros) until they are within reach of the toy. The double-page, hand-colored relief prints with heavy black outlines are magnificent, and children will enjoy the comically expressive pictures of the animals before and after their attempt to extract the plane. The text is minimal; it's the illustrations that are the draw here.-Kristin de Lacoste, South Regional Public Library, Pembroke Pines, FL Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Best known for fluid, superbly realistic oil paintings, Rohmann (Prairie Train, 1999, etc) switches to thick-lined colored woodcuts and a simpler pictorial style for this nearly wordless, engagingly wacky episode. After carelessly throwing little Mouse's airplane up into a tree, Rabbit finds a unique way to reach it. ("Not to worry, Mouse. I've got an idea!") Industrious, if not too practical, he drags in a reluctant bear, a crocodile, a purple hippo, and other animals, then stacks them atop a wobbly-legged elephant. Great is the inevitable fall thereof, but Mouse and airplane are reunited, and Mouse, being a true friend, swoops down to rescue Rabbit from the now-annoyed menagerie. Rohmann uses wordless, and sometimes even empty, frames to great comic effect, allowing huge animals to make sudden entrances from the side-or from above, and artfully capturing the expressions on their faces. Young readers and pre-readers will chortle at the silliness of it all while enjoying the sometimes-demanding friendship between these disparately sized chums.
From the Publisher
“This is a very simple book designed for younger ages. It's a fast reading book, but can help start a great discussion in giving the benefit of the doubt, in unconditional love, and in being a faithful friend.” Armchair Interviews
Read an Excerpt
When Mouse lets his best friend, Rabbit, play with his brand-new airplane, trouble isn't far behind. From Caldecott Honor award winner Eric Rohmann comes a brand-new picture book about friends and toys and trouble, illustrated in robust, expressive prints.