Seymour, a brown bunny, and Opal, his white-furred sister, lived in a human-style house. To reach her room, Opal must walk through her brother's domain, and Seymour discovers a way to capitalize on Opal's need. He installs a tollgate to his doorway and charges Opal a nickel each time she passes ("Seymour never forgot, and he grew very wealthy"). Opal, ever-patient, finally extracts vengeance on a rainy day when Seymour is bored. He wants to play, but she's too busy; he offers her two nickels for the privilege, but she, politely declining, holds out until he revokes the toll. Lpez Escriv's understated pencil-and-watercolor illustrations reflect the tale's quiet tension as well as its idiosyncrasies. The rabbits-akin to Mitra Modarressi's human characters-have egg-shaped heads, petite facial features and slender arms and legs; their home boasts a gently clashing array of checkerboard linoleum, scattered toys and delicately patterned wallpaper. Jussek shows how the rabbit siblings finally reach a compromise without coming to blows or screaming for their parents; hers is a useful and non-didactic story about not burning one's tollbridges. Ages 3-7. (Nov.)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Seymour and Opal are brother and sister, and usually they are friends. But one day Seymour decides to charge Opal a nickel every time she passes through his room (which she has to do to get to her room). By the time her piggy bank is empty, Opal isn't so sure she wants to be friends with her brother. She plays by herself, and after awhile, Seymour realizes it's not so much fun playing alone. "I'll give you a nickel if you let me play," Seymour says to Opal. She refuses. An increasingly desperate Seymour decides to let her pass through his room for free and lets her borrow his walkie-talkie. This is a nice story about siblings who decide it is better to be friends.
Children's Literature - Dia L. Michels
PreS-Gr 2-Seymour and Opal has real `90s appeal with its jazzy watercolor-and-pencil stylized cartoons featuring a not-too-neat house with lots going on. Though bossy Seymour charges his sister a nickel toll to pass through his room to get to hers, Opal is a more contented child even when her piggy bank has been emptied by the payments. Her imaginative games and inner strength bring her happiness. Seymour and Rosemary Wells's Ruby, Max's older sister, are characters of the same fur (rabbits) who rely on the word "Because" to rule their siblings. In both cases, the tables are turned and the irrepressible kids come out the winners. This gentle story of getting along with others will be a hit because these characters are so true to life.-Gale W. Sherman, Pocatello Public Library, ID
Seymour and Opal are brother-and-sister rabbits who have adjoining rooms; in fact, Opal must pass through Seymour's room to get to her own. All is fine until Seymour decides to charge a nickel each time Opal wants to go into her room. Opal meekly pays up until one rainy day when Seymour, with nothing to do, begs Opal to play with him. Then she is able to bargain for something she wants, but readers aren't likely to feel that justice has been served, since the ownership of the nickels isn't resolved and the only sign of give-and-take is more like "taking advantage." The story is mildly amusing, the pictures very sweet and funny, but Opal's largely passive reaction to Seymour's extortion is puzzling.