Subtle nuances of light and color lend a delicate beauty to the illustrations for this wordless tale of a rescued wild creature who returns the favor.
As in her Fox’s Garden (2014, published under her pen name, “Princesse Camcam”), Garoche crafts multilayered dioramas with cut and painted paper figures, photographing them with blurry foregrounds or backgrounds for a sense of depth. Here, two girls, one in a wheelchair and the other able-bodied, both blonde and Caucasian, bring a half-frozen rabbit inside to warm it up, then venture out into snowy woods to set it free. With the house nowhere in sight, the wheelchair gets hung up in a tuft of weeds (though it rolls through or over the snow with an odd lack of difficulty). As the ambulatory child struggles in vain to free the chair, twilight falls, and birds and other creatures gather to watch. But meanwhile, the white rabbit has grown to the size of a horse and so is able to bear the disabled child home through silvery moonlight. If some viewers find the huge rabbit, with its gleaming, fathomless black eyes, enigmatic or even disquieting, the strongly atmospheric visuals do impart a sense of wonder to the setting…and the theme of kindness rewarded always plays sweetly.
A silent, magical encounter. (Picture book. 5-7)