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The Black Rabbit
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The Black Rabbit

4.6 3
by Philippa Leathers

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In this clever picture book, a debut author-illustrator introduces a plucky rabbit and the new companion that he just can’t shake.

Rabbit has a problem. There’s a large black rabbit chasing him. No matter where he runs — behind a tree, over the river — the shadowy rabbit follows. Finally in the deep, dark wood, Rabbit loses his


In this clever picture book, a debut author-illustrator introduces a plucky rabbit and the new companion that he just can’t shake.

Rabbit has a problem. There’s a large black rabbit chasing him. No matter where he runs — behind a tree, over the river — the shadowy rabbit follows. Finally in the deep, dark wood, Rabbit loses his nemesis — only to encounter a real foe! Kids who like to be in on the secret will revel in this humorous look at shadows and friendship, brought to light by a talented animator.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
One sunny day, a tiny white rabbit notices a gigantic and strangely quiet black rabbit by his side. No matter where he goes, “the Black Rabbit was right behind him.” Readers will immediately recognize the Black Rabbit as a shadow, yet its “pursuit” prompts the white bunny to take cover in “the deep, dark wood”—a poor course of action. Having evaded his silhouette, the bunny now faces “two eyes shining brightly in the dark.” He hurries back into sunlit fields, pursued by a slavering wolf, and braces for an attack that never comes; the Black Rabbit reappears and sends the predator scurrying. Leathers, an animator/illustrator making her children’s book debut, creates uncomplicated watercolor spreads that balance the ominous presence of the Black Rabbit with humor had at the white rabbit’s expense. Her bipedal, kawaii-influenced white bunny has an oversize head and petite body, and her snaggly-fanged, shaggy, and slant-eyed wolf recalls Lauren Child’s caricatures. Images of the long-eared shadow against river reeds and hedges lend an unsettling touch to a lightly funny, lightly creepy story. Ages 3–6. Agent: Kirsten Hall, the Bright Agency. (Jan.)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
When little white Rabbit steps out of his burrow one sunny morning, he is frightened by the appearance of a big Black Rabbit behind him. Although he runs, he is followed. Hiding behind a tree does not help, nor does swimming across the river. Finally, running into the deep dark wood, he thinks the Black Rabbit has disappeared. But two eyes are shining at him. He is right that it is NOT the Black Rabbit; it is a hungry wolf! Rabbit runs out of the forest, awaiting the wolf's attack. But when he spots Black Rabbit behind Rabbit, the wolf runs away. And now Rabbit skips happily along, hand-in-hand with what readers have obviously identified as his shadow. Digitally combined ink and watercolors effectively and economically show the simple story. The endpages display a map of the action as Rabbit leaves his burrow. Red dashes plot his twisted path over the river, zigzagging in the woods, and finally out. The simplicity of the representations of Rabbit, wolf, trees, and other story elements helps emphasize the emotional content of the initial fear and ultimate relief. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3—When a little white rabbit leaves his burrow one gloriously sunny day, he see a looming black rabbit. Readers will understand that the figure is only his shadow, but the unknowing bunny runs, with Black Rabbit on his heels. He tries hiding behind a tree and swimming in a river, but the creature is still there, following him to the other side. Desperate, he runs into the deep, dark woods where he finally escapes the black rabbit. But another threat, a wolf, awaits him there, with "two eyes shining brightly," and Rabbit runs back out of the woods with Wolf close on his tail. Will the wolf devour him? Is Black Rabbit still out there, waiting for him? In this simple picture-book tale of light and shadows, the protagonist learns that what frightens us most may turn out to be our saving grace. It's a tad hair-raising at times but the ending will please. Leathers's rabbit is charming, traveling on two feet, with an exaggerated stuffed animal form that is endearing and reassuring.—C. J. Connor, Campbell County Public Library, Cold Spring, KY
Kirkus Reviews
An adorable bunny discovers his shadow; trepidation and then friendship follow in this familiar and mildly entertaining tale. It's a beautiful day when Rabbit awakes, but he is not alone. An ominous, looming rabbit has appeared. Scared, the little hare runs, hides, swims--even bravely tries to engage it. Nothing dissuades the giant shadow, who quietly follows his originator's every move. Rabbit finds relief in the deep, dark wood until a hungry wolf chases him out, whereupon his shadow reappears and frightens the wolf away. Hand in hand, the bunny and his shadow walk safely away together. Leather uses a simple, cartoony style, making the story feel safe and accessible to readers of various sensitivity levels. She also plays with the shadow's scale and size, helping readers to understand Rabbit's fears without frightening them. The appealing drawings are done in watercolor with pen, yet for all their thoughtfulness, they fail to show that Rabbit ultimately understands the Black Rabbit to be his shadow. Imagery showing a light source casting the shadow would have helped complete the journey. Sweet but slight. (Picture book. 3-6)

Product Details

Candlewick Press
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
7.90(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.30(d)
AD470L (what's this?)
Age Range:
3 - 6 Years

Meet the Author

Philippa Leathers studied graphic design, illustration, and animation, and currently works as a freelance animator and illustrator. The Black Rabbit is her first picture book, while her animation credits include work on the Charlie and Lola and Peppa Pig TV series. She lives in England with her family, a gray tabby cat named Emmi, and two rabbits named Benji and Kiki, who inspired her to write The Black Rabbit, as where one goes the other follows close behind.

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The Black Rabbit 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I teach Pre Kindergarten  and this book is part of the 2x2 program at our school. I usually pick up books from the library to read to my kiddos after lunch. When I read Black Rabbit, the children's faces lit with awe.. such  a beautiful story about the fuzzy little friend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My six-year-old first-grade grandson read this book himself and liked it so much he traced the cover. He glued his tracing onto construction paper and made his own book.
Candace-LoveyDoveyBooks More than 1 year ago
Philippa Leathers's debut children's book is quite the curious read. The Black Rabbit is a tale of Rabbit who believes he's being followed by a scary black rabbit. Rabbit is indeed afraid of his own shadow, but the catch of the story is that he never realizes that it's his shadow. The Black Rabbit is show of true imagination and humor. There will definitely be a divide between readers of this story. Younger readers will find no fault with Rabbit being afraid of his shadow, seeing it as the mysterious monster-like creature following the innocent little animal. On the other hand, older readers will understand why Rabbit can't get away from the Black Rabbit, but bow to the creative genius of Leathers's story. Leathers is also the illustrator of The Black Rabbit, and she does impressive work. The concept of the story is easily translated through the illustrations, which also add a bit of suspense. Even though Rabbit doesn't realize that he's afraid of his shadow, his fear is replaced by admiration. I had to laugh at the outcome of The Black Rabbit, because I really expected him to figure it out. Either way, I have no doubt that Leathers will continue to create such exciting and beautifully illustrated children's books! *Book provided via publisher in exchange for an honest review* Also posted on Lovey Dovey Books