Owl and Rabbit are good friends and live in two small houses next to each other. They are perfectly happy . . . until Rabbit's garden gets in the way of Owl's view. So Owl builds his house a little taller. Only that blocks the sun from Rabbit's vegetables. So Rabbit builds his house taller. And soon it's a house-building ...
Owl and Rabbit are good friends and live in two small houses next to each other. They are perfectly happy . . . until Rabbit's garden gets in the way of Owl's view. So Owl builds his house a little taller. Only that blocks the sun from Rabbit's vegetables. So Rabbit builds his house taller. And soon it's a house-building frenzy and the two now not-so-good friends have the two tallest houses in the world!
All it takes is a gust of wind to remind them that maybe living smaller and together is a much better way to remain friends.
The creator of Meet Me at the Moon has delivered another wonderful animal fable for today's world.
Marino's (Meet Me at the Moon) gouache and pencil spreads feature sun-baked ?color, lots of movement, and wide Southwestern vistas; they provide most of the story's kick. Rabbit's flat-topped brick house looks like a small pueblo, while his neighbor Owl's dwelling is an intricately woven covered nest. The two animals have been friends for ages, but now there's a conflict: "Rabbit!" cries Owl. "Your garden is growing too tall. ?I can't see the forest!" Owl adds another story to his dwelling while "Rabbit watched and chittered his teeth." Rabbit retaliates, building still higher, and they're off, each outdoing the other until a spread shows two impossibly tall structures teetering far above Earth's surface, the rabbit and owl barely hanging on at the very top. Wind blows the houses from side to side, and vegetables and twigs go flying; fortunately, although the animals are falling from miles up, both land safely—and, of course, discover that cooperation is better than competition. It's a story with universal appeal and a very particular sense of place. Ages 3–5. Agent: Deborah Warren, East West Literary Agency. (Sept.)
- Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Rabbit and Owl live in their small houses on top of a hill. Owl likes to look out at the forest, while Rabbit grows vegetables in the sunshine. They are good friends until Owl complains that Rabbit's garden is cutting off his view of the forest. He builds his house higher. This obstructs the sunlight from Rabbit's garden, so he builds his house taller, planting on the roof. And so it goes, each building ever higher, until they have "the two tallest houses in the world." By this time, Rabbit can no longer carry the needed water up to his garden. Owl cannot see the forest either. When a "Whooosh" blows the houses into the air, the pair end up on the ground with nothing. But together they find enough to build one small house and become friends again. The unhappy stars of this melodrama stand warily back-to-back near their too tall houses on the jacket/cover. Gouache and pencils create naturalistic visuals that follow the building process, demonstrating the increasing architectural problems. Check the end pages for a hint of the resolution. Meanwhile, we are treated to a display of temper, anger, anxiety, and finally contentment, along with a lesson. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Owl and Rabbit live side by side in two small huts. Rabbit tends to his vegetable garden and Owl perches on the roof, gazing at the forest. Trouble starts when Rabbit's plants grow too tall, blocking Owl's vista. Angry Owl makes his abode taller, Rabbit follows suit, and a construction race ensues. When the houses become impossibly sky-high, cartoonishly looming over continents, a formidable wind blows them down. With their dwellings in ruins, the former friends wisely decide that it is much better to join forces and build one small house, where they settle in harmony. Laid out in spreads, the illustrations feature impeccably detailed pencil drawings combined with sumptuously colored gouache backgrounds. The animals are full of heartfelt emotions, from anger and frustration to happy contentment. Marino interjects a few humorous details throughout the story-the expressions of grumpy Owl getting watered by Rabbit or flying with a squashed tomato on his head are priceless. This story about friendship and togetherness contains a great lesson without being didactic or moralizing and should be welcome in most collections.—Yelena Alekseyeva-Popova, formerly at Chappaqua Library, NY
Hilltop neighbors Rabbit and Owl nearly destroy their friendship when envy and one-upmanship take hold in this appealing story that reads much like a folk tale. First, gardener Rabbit's autumnal veggies block Owl's forest view. Then, Owl's remodel diminishes light for Rabbit's garden. So it goes, until "soon they had / the tallest houses in the world." When a windstorm assists in toppling their teetering, untenable abodes, the animals land in a pile of dirt, strewn vegetables and broken twigs. Their shared plight engenders renewed cooperation and friendship: "Alone they had nothing / but together they had all they needed… / to build one small house." Marino's full-bleed pencil-and-gouache illustrations beautifully capture the pair's harmonious play, mounting rift and oh-so-satisfying reconciliation. The marvelously dizzying perspective and visual depiction of emotions mesh, in pictures that preschoolers can "read" with absorption. During their estrangement, Owl and Rabbit appear on opposite ends of double-page spreads or glare across the sky-high gap between their absurd towers. The well-turned, dialogue-rich narrative complements the sunny visuals, making this an excellent choice for one-on-one or group read-alouds. Smart design details include a tall trim size, the choice of an elegantly readable typeface and end pages that pictorially encapsulate the story arc. Another winner for rising star Marino. (Picture book. 3-6)
Gianna Marino spent her early years galloping horses through Golden Gate Park and writing stories of her adventures. She has traveled throughout the world and now lives in Northern California, where she writes and illustrates full time. Visit Gianna at giannamarino.com.