My friends on Goodreads might notice a change in my reading behavior – a sudden influx of picture books and board books. I’m taking two classes this quarter that require me to read and review materials for a variety of ages, so instead of just inhaling and enjoying some of these, I’m actually forced to sit down and articulate my thoughts. One class has me going through 42 items from music to early readers to chapter books, and the other one asks for a mere 19. I’m enjoying reviewing the picture books, as a change from longer stuff, because I feel like I can actually talk about the whole thing in more detail – and there’s still plenty to say. And you can read through it 3 or 4 times easily. Here’s one I keep flipping through for fun:
rating: 4 of 5 stars
For toddler-early elementary
Rabbit means well, but is always getting himself and Mouse into trouble. Rabbit tries to rescue Mouse’s plane from a tree using a variety of animals.
The premise of the book is simple, and has certainly been done before in the world of picture books. At first, it seems that Rabbit will try one animal after another to get Mouse’s plane out of the tree, but instead he piles these strangely compliant beasts into an improbable tower. In the end, it’s the combination of the two friends that rescues the airplane, and before you know it they’re headed into trouble again. The humor is a strong point, seen in both the slapstick plot, the subtly of facial expressions, and the unlikely scenes of Rabbit carrying a deer, crocodile, bear and goose across the page.
The story is told in only a few words, with many pages containing only illustrations. It almost doesn’t need a few of the descriptive sentences, like “The animals were not happy.” We can gather that information from the way they stare down Rabbit, and the way Rabbit gazes out at the reader in fear. However, with the illustrations are beautifully distracting – bold but gentle, with thick black outlines around each object and twisting, dotted lines showing the trajectory of the plane. Younger children would enjoy identifying the animals, while older children could provide narration for the story, make predictions, and laugh over slapstick elements.