K-Gr 2-A young girl is instructed by her mother to chase away the rabbit that is eating their cabbage. Each time she does, the rabbit asks, "Come, maiden-sit on my tail and go with me to my rabbit hutch." Acquiescing on the third request, the child finds herself carried away and betrothed to this now dictatorial creature. She manages to trick him, and runs back to her mother. Brooding and dark in nature, the folktale loses its effect here, for Meade has changed the ending. Instead of concluding with the rabbit's sadness over his loss (he thought that he had killed her), the reteller adds, "Back in the beautiful cabbage garden, the maiden's mother was happy. And so was the maiden." With these seemingly minor changes, the entire story loses the folktale flavor and raison d' tre. The artwork, done in vibrant watercolors, effectively illustrates the rabbit's changing personality from harmless to demonic, but the effect may be too scary for young readers, and they will not be prepared for this sudden turnaround. Maurice Sendak's somber and intricate drawings for The Juniper Tree (Farrar, 1973) embody the essence of the Grimm tales; before readers open the pages, they know that this tale has a dark undercurrent. While Meade's whimsical and effervescent artwork is highly laudable, it is not suited for this folktale. This story may take some explaining for young listeners and leave them confused.-Tina Hudak, St. Bernard's School, Riverdale, MD Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.