The Rabbit Girl

Overview


What is the mystery of the Rabbit Girl picture? Its secret is woven into two stories, one past, one present, told side by side. The first tells how 1940s evacuee Tony and his friend Alice befriend a fascinating old lady in the Lake District who introduces them to the countryside and draws Alice's portrait. In the second, teenage Mallie takes a part-time job in a pet shop, buys her artist mother a dusty old picture as a birthday present, and tries her best to engineer a romance between her new boss and her ...
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The Rabbit Girl

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Overview


What is the mystery of the Rabbit Girl picture? Its secret is woven into two stories, one past, one present, told side by side. The first tells how 1940s evacuee Tony and his friend Alice befriend a fascinating old lady in the Lake District who introduces them to the countryside and draws Alice's portrait. In the second, teenage Mallie takes a part-time job in a pet shop, buys her artist mother a dusty old picture as a birthday present, and tries her best to engineer a romance between her new boss and her mother, aided by her feisty friend Jamila. Everything goes wrong... but the picture has a power of its own and pulls both stories together - in front of TV cameras - in a jaw-dropping climax.

Two stories, one set in the 1940s, one in the present, unravel the secret of the Rabbit Girl picture, and the mystery is solved in a jaw-dropping climax.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 6–9—Two different stories converge, one contemporary, the other set during the London Blitz, to bring old and young together in a shared family past. When Mallie takes an after-school job in a pet store owned by a retired veterinarian, it also leads to some commissioned artwork for her single mother, an artist. Mallie's purchase of an old framed sketch of a girl and rabbit makes a perfect present for her mum, but when a dinner brings mother and daughter together with the pet-shop owner and his middle-aged son, the gifted piece of art attracts some consternation and intrigue. The vet recognizes the drawing as something he received as a child from a mysterious Mrs. H, and his upsetting reaction prompts Mallie to find out more about it. She eventually learns that the artist is Beatrix Potter, who not only knew the man as a child, but also spent time with Mallie's grandmother during the war. Alternating chapters take readers through the separate stories of a boy's wartime experiences opposite a very modern London girl's lifestyle. Both children experience parallel situations of uncertainty and stress. The young future vet must leave his parents to live in an unknown rural setting, longing for some familiarity and companionship. Mallie strives to help her mother's unemployment and subsequent depression. A well-crafted British import with believable characterization, realism, and a suspenseful story arc.—Rita Soltan, Youth Services Consultant, West Bloomfield, MI
Kirkus Reviews
A novel explores intergenerational links, with a modern teenager at one end and a child orphaned in the London Blitz at the other. The bombing sends unwilling, urbanized 10-year-old Tony into the Lakes District. There he is given a drawing by old "Mrs H" (a certain artist and sheep farmer whose real identity is made known when the drawing lands on Antiques Road Show decades later) and develops a love for animals by working on a farm before receiving news that his widowed father has been killed. Meanwhile, in alternating segments, a modern teen, Mallie, lands a part-time job in a pet shop owned by a crusty retired veterinarian, buys an old drawing in a thrift shop and engineers both work and a personal connection with the vet's unattached son for her widowed artist mum. A disastrous dinner party during which the old man spots Mallie's drawing and accuses her of theft sets up a climactic round of revelations, shared memories and long-ago connections that ties the tale into a tidy bow. Young readers may enjoy the lively banter between Mallie and her BF Jamila and perhaps take mild intellectual interest in the historical back story--but to American children for whom the war wasn't fought so close to home, the emotional resonance won't be particularly sharp. Likely to be a miss on this side of the pond, though written in a style fluid enough to smooth over some contrivances. (afterword) (Historical fiction. 10-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781847801562
  • Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Books
  • Publication date: 10/25/2011
  • Pages: 224
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.70 (d)

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