In search of his missing companion, a rabbit has to travel a long way and even face a dragon.
Shifting from airplane to car and then to boat, Rabbit is accompanied on his weary quest by, in turn, a flock of birds, a human king, assorted animals from the royal menagerie, and a school of fish—but all are soon diverted by meetings with others of their own kinds. Still, the two rabbits (both male) are reunited in the end after the lonely dragon who had kidnapped one is fitted out with a companion of her own. Using a limited palette that reflects the narrative’s spare prose, van der Linden places simply drawn and modeled figures against plain white or minimally detailed backgrounds. Identical in features and dress, the two kings hold hands as they “talk about kingly things.” In a final scene infused with similar intimacy, even the airplane, the car, and the setting sun are paired off (the last with its reflection in the sea) as the animals dance or stroll in couples across an island beach. It’s hard to imagine the child who will finish this book and not have questions, though they may range in many different directions.
An idyllic picture, with a subtle bit of subtext for discussion if desired. (Picture book. 6-8)