THE RABBITS

In this terse, allegorical import, the arrival of technologically proficient “Rabbits” to a new land leads to warfare with indigenous residents, teeming cities, and devastation of the natural environment. Tan’s highly stylized illustrations sport barely recognizable rabbits in ornate, high-collared costume swarming over desert landscapes, erecting factories, carving away mountains and subduing spear-carrying, uncomprehending aborigines—cast as numbats—with cannon and sheer weight of numbers. Is there a lesson here? Duh. Any tale featuring rabbits will have resonance lost to readers on other continents, but the invasion’s ugly course has recognizable parallels everywhere. And rather than close with trite warnings or simplistic answers, Marsden offers only an anguished, thought-provoking question: “Who will save us from the Rabbits?” Who indeed. (Picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-9688768-8-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simply Read

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2003

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THE RED WOLF

An original “princess in a tower” tale with a startling twist. A never-revealed donor gives seven-year-old Roselupin a chest of yarn with the note: “knit what you want.” Having spent her entire life in a tall tower, thanks to an overprotective royal father, she takes thought, then knits a red wolf suit that causes her to grow hairy and huge enough to burst through the walls. After celebrating with a wild dance, she sets out to find others like her—not noticing that the costume is unraveling behind her. When the frightened king sends out searchers to discover what became of the monster, they return with the dour princess, who soon finds herself locked into an even stronger tower. Undaunted, she again takes thought, and knits her father “a rather mousy-looking pair of pajamas.” Though the scarlet behemoth bounding joyously through ankle-deep woods makes an arresting central image, readers willing to look more closely at Shannon’s shadowy, atmospheric paintings will find subtle clues in little Roselupin’s face that there’s more to her than meets the eye. Though turning her father into a mouse may seem a rather draconian way to win freedom, her tough-mindedness may give children feeling similarly smothered both amusement and vicarious relief. (Picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: March 25, 2002

ISBN: 0-618-05544-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2002

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A BUSY DAY AT THE GARAGE

A rural, pleasantly ramshackle garage is the setting for this lively book. Each spread features the station and its forecourt, with a flurry of activity accompanying each turn of the page: The garage opens up for the day; a bashed-in car arrives; a brief squall soaks a lady, her swain, and their tony convertible. Over it all presides Mr. Fingers, a harmlessly gangsterish type in striped trousers and white jacket. Dupasquier (Andy's Pirate Ship, 1994, etc.) keeps the text quick, simple, and hand-in-glove with the illustrations (``Mick and Mack start to work on Mr. Walker's car. Pete serves the first customer''). These watercolors are equally nimble, deliberately cartoonish in the linework and saturated colors. The front and rear flap covers fold out with an array of questions and puzzles pertaining to the story. Bright, boisterous, fun; for children who take to the format, there are two companion volumes: A Busy Day at the Airport (ISBN 1-56402-591-8) and A Busy Day at the Building Site (592-6). (Picture book. 4+)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 1-56402-590-X

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1995

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