Rabbit enjoys doing rabbity things, but he also loves un-rabbity things! When Rabbit suddenly disappears, no one knows where he has gone. His friends are desolate. But, as it turns out, Rabbit has left behind some very special gifts for them, to help them discover their own unrabbity talents! This is a stunning debut picture book by author/illustrator Jo Empson. Rabbityness celebrates individuality, encourages the creativity in everyone and ...
Rabbit enjoys doing rabbity things, but he also loves un-rabbity things! When Rabbit suddenly disappears, no one knows where he has gone. His friends are desolate. But, as it turns out, Rabbit has left behind some very special gifts for them, to help them discover their own unrabbity talents!
This is a stunning debut picture book by author/illustrator Jo Empson. Rabbityness celebrates individuality, encourages the creativity in everyone and positively introduces children to dealing with loss of any kind.
The inky black rabbit that stars in Empson’s debut is, in many ways, typical of his kind. “Rabbit liked hopping. Rabbit liked jumping.... Rabbit like washing his ears,” Empson writes, as Rabbit appears on patches of bright green turf studded with wildflowers. But there’s more to Rabbit than meets the eye: he also likes doing “unrabbity” things, especially painting and making music. An explosion of color accompanies Rabbit’s creative endeavors; splatters and splotches of magenta, blue, and fiery red paint burst across the forest landscape as Rabbit bounces across a spread holding a paintbrush. And Rabbit’s music making is done with an elaborately decorated alpenhorn, a multitude of colorful musical notes comingling with loosely sketched trees. When Rabbit disappears, his fellow rabbits are bereft, and the “woods were quiet and gray.” The paints, musical instruments, and artwork he leaves behind, however, help the rabbits move past the loss and discover their own creativity. It’s a somber but encouraging metaphor for the void created by someone’s departure or death—especially if that someone is the life of the party. Ages 4–8. (Nov.)
- Susan Borges
It will be a joy to read this beautiful story over and over again because it is likely to convey a different message each time it is read. This is a wonderful story of individuality, the enjoyment of life, special friends, learning from others, doing what you like to do, and finding comfort when someone you love is missing. The black rabbit in this story is unique because he enjoys doing "rabbity" things like hopping and burrowing, but he also enjoys doing "unrabbity" things like music and painting. When the rabbit disappears one day, his friends are very sad until they find his hole and discover that he has left gifts there for them. He has left things for his friends to use to make music and put color into their world. All of the rabbit friends think of black rabbit when they make music and use color, and they discover their own joy in doing unrabbity things too. This tender story is a brilliant combination of simple prose and colorful, detailed illustrations that work together to create beautiful, warm feeling of friendship, creativity, personal fulfillment, and the joy that comes from sharing. The illustrations in this delightful tale provide a rich visual narrative, and from the deliberately simple text come important ideas and much to consider as children read about the adorable unrabbity black rabbit and how he changed his world. Reviewer: Susan Borges
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—In this deceptively simple tale, Rabbit likes hopping, jumping, twirling his whiskers, and washing his ears just like all rabbits, but he also enjoys unrabbity things. With paint brush held between his ears and another one between his paws, he leaves vibrant bursts of color in his wake. With his wonderful horn, he fills the air with music to the delight of wide-eyed birds. The other black rabbits share his happiness in a woods full of color and music, until one day Rabbit disappears. The gray woods are quiet, and Rabbit's dark hole beckons his sorrowing friends. In that deep, dim place they find Rabbit's legacy-paints and brushes and musical instruments. They think of him, and in time they, too, fill the world with color and music. Stunningly conceived, Epson's black rabbits cavort against white spaces, experience happiness as well as loss, and ultimately claim Rabbit's gifts. The mystery of his disappearance may speak to the sadness children feel when friends or family go away without explanation. Perhaps they will also find gifts left behind that will make their world a better place. This story will grow richer with each reading and will resonate in hearts and minds for years to come.—Mary Jean Smith, formerly at Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN
When a creative rabbit disappears after spreading color and music through the woods, other rabbits feel a sense of loss until they discover what he left behind. Rabbit enjoys "rabbity" things, like hopping, jumping, twirling his whiskers, washing his ears, burrowing and sleeping, but he also enjoys "unrabbity" things, like painting and music. Rabbit fills "the woods with color and music," and his happiness spreads everywhere. But when Rabbit disappears, the woods turn "quiet and gray," and the rabbits feel sad--until they find the paints, brushes, chimes, pipes and drums Rabbit left for them. They use Rabbit's gifts to create their own color and music, remember him and feel happy. The repetitive, spare text works beautifully with expressive watercolor illustrations that rely on pattern and color to stress the connection between creativity and happiness. If Rabbit's doing "rabbity" things, his black silhouette appears as a subdued shape in a tiny green grass patch on a pure white background. If he's painting or making music, his black form wields brushes and blows a giant pipe against an energized background that explodes with multicolor splashes and musical notes. After Rabbit disappears, everything's black, white and gray; when the rabbits begin painting and making music, pages teem with whimsical color and pattern. An imaginatively designed lesson in creativity and loss. (Picture book. 3-6)