A lucky rabbit must escape from the depths of a magic hat to reunite with the boy he protects.
Cecil Bean has both bad luck and good luck because everyone in the world, according to this outlandish fantasy, has both a black cat that crosses their paths and a personal lucky rabbit. In Cecil’s case, Millikin the cat is determined to ruin the boy’s life while Leek the rabbit wants to keep him safe. Their conflict comes to a head when a traveling charlatan with a stolen magic hat puts Leek into the hat during a performance. The act sends Leek to an inhospitable realm called Hat, also Millikin’s homeland, where he meets other rabbits who’ve suffered the same fate. The tale picks up even more speed as Leek meets rabbit doe Morel, and the two set out for the fortress of the black cats, where they can return to their humans through magic. Nonstop action, with plenty of excrement jokes, carries readers along as the rabbits encounter unusual creatures, a few monsters, and an epic cat-and-mouse chase on their way. Meanwhile, Cecil, hoping to save Leek, learns to make his own luck. Although Morel defies gender stereotypes as a sword-wielding leader, a jungle-dwelling community of pierced, tattooed, and breechcloth-clad potbelly pigs reinforces those often assigned to Indigenous peoples. All human characters assume the white default. Taylor’s full-color, animation-inflected illustrations appear throughout.
Odd but not without some appeal. (Fantasy. 8-12)