How will hungry Rabbit reach the apple hanging so far out of reach? With help from friends, of course!
Shuffling miserably through a barren, wintry landscape speckled with falling snow, Rabbit spots the bright red apple hanging from a leafless branch in truly mouthwatering splendor. His own efforts to reach it proving vain, off he goes to enlist aid from Mouse, then from an ill but amicable Fox. Neither alone nor stacked atop one another can they reach high enough until Bear joins them. Success at last, though Fox’s ill-timed sneeze causes all to tumble into the snow. Oral pays more attention to his theme than to finicky details: the animals divvy up the apple (how?) and eat their portions for dinner (a rather paltry meal, except maybe for Mouse, and a surprising choice for Fox, considering that two of his three companions are prey). They then repair to Bear’s den and fall together “into a deep, happy sleep”—right next to the apple’s intact, neatly shaved core. Analytical young readers will have questions about the internal logic here and will also note that as often as not in the illustrations the animals walk on their hind legs. No matter: cooperation toward a goal is always worth a shoutout, and sharing the resulting prize seems only fair.
A worthy tale, if not very well thought out nor the comic gold of Eric Rohmann’s similar, Caldecott-winning My Friend Rabbit. (2002). (Picture book. 6-8)