A tale of foxes and rabbit goes for a twist ending.
Farmer foxes Rusty and Rojo believe the time has come to attend to their “prizewinning… / RABBIT STEW!” They pluck delicious vegetables from the ground and off the vines, scrounge for fruits in the bushes, and all the while are viewed apprehensively by the local rabbit family. After all the ingredients are picked, it’s time for the pièce de résistance, a “round…white… / bowl… / for our favorite Rabbit, Stew.” It turns out that Stew is the name of the foxes’ prizewinning rabbit, so he and his family are treated to a feast of healthy treats. It’s a cute-enough idea, but the payoff loses much in the delivery. Is the book implying that the foxes own the rabbits and win prizes at rabbit shows with them? If so, why do the bunnies look terrified out of their gourds for 95 percent of the book? The confusing storytelling is rivaled only by the art. Readers see that the rabbits have a home directly next to (and beneath) the foxes, yet they appear fearful of their neighbors from Page 5 onward. And little wonder! Rusty handles a tomato and calls it “plump, yet firm,” while Rojo hugs a rabbit and says, “Perfectly so.” No doubt readers will wonder why the scared bunnies don’t hop along to greener, less saliva-spackled pastures.
A book that forgoes the basics of comprehension in pursuit of purposeful misdirection. (Picture book. 4-7)