A fearful rabbit finds the courage to broaden his horizons in this picture book.
Rabbit, anthropomorphically attired in overalls, lives in a wheat field that he never leaves. Instead, he waits for Dog—more sartorially adventurous in a black leather-fringed jacket, appropriate for motorbike travel—to visit and tell him stories of the road. But one day Dog dies, an event touchingly illustrated with an image of Rabbit sitting on his porch steps with drooping ears and drooping flowers. Rabbit is surprised that Dog leaves his motorbike to him, and he stores it away, admitting that he is too scared to use it. Author Hoefler takes a well-used theme and infuses it with a graceful poetic cadence that reads like a firelight tale as she relates how, yes, Rabbit does eventually work up the courage to travel on the motorbike, and yes, does come home again, enriched and changed. Illustrator Jacoby’s smudgy, delicate illustrations depict these changes—both in Rabbit’s appearance and demeanor and in the story’s landscape—with an evocative, textural style that heightens the story’s emotion. One illustration, a double-page spread of a beach from an overhead perspective, is initially disorienting, then exhilarating. The book adroitly combines spot illustrations and double-page spreads to establish and control the story’s elegant, thoughtful pace.
Graceful text and evocative illustrations combine in this story about the rewards of facing fears and trying something new. (Picture book. 3-7)