The titular rabbits model tender, generous friendship in Odell’s (I’m Done!, by Gretchen Brandenberg McClellan, 2018) authorial debut.
Best friends Pepper, a white rabbit with one black ear, and Frannie, a flamboyantly outfitted brown rabbit, both girls, love having adventures. Pepper’s idea of a good adventure, however, involves plans, maps, and precision, while Frannie revels in spontaneity. Refreshingly, each friend’s outlook, interests, and impeccable personal style are presented as equally valid, showing (rather than telling) that there’s no one right way to be a girl. When Frannie misses the bus to the Wheels in the Woods skateboarding festival, a helmeted Pepper saves the day with a ride on her motorcycle, then reveals that she’s reluctant to try skateboarding herself. With Frannie’s persistent encouragement, emphasized via faux hand-lettered speech bubbles, Pepper eventually does—with pleasantly surprising results. Sparse lines of text give the mixed-media illustrations an equal role in the storytelling; despite the bold contrast of black text on bright white pages, the text and pacing maintain a sweet, playful tone alongside soft, painterly organic shapes dominated by shades of green and pink. Delightful details abound, from Pepper’s expressions of concentration as she tries “again, and again” to Frannie’s leopard-spotted skating outfit.
This is the book about skateboarding female rabbits you didn’t know you were missing. (Picture book. 3-8)