Eric Rohmann's My Friend Rabbit
Children's book review by Steve Barancik
We've all had that overenthusiastic friend. The one who tends to get us into trouble with his "we can do this" attitude. The one who can't seem to look a modest two steps ahead and so doesn't foresee the likely consequences of his wide-eyed efforts.
Kind of like Congress.
Meet Mouse, and his friend Rabbit. Rabbit is bigger and more enthusiastic...
But not smarter. Definitely not smarter. As Mouse puts it, wherever Rabbit goes, "trouble follows."
Still, Mouse finds himself going along with Rabbit's crazy ideas. Fly in a propeller plane? Um, okay, I guess. After all, what could possibly go wrong?
Eric Rohmann won a Caldecott Medal for his wonderful illustrations, "hand colored relief prints," in this story that is told, for the most part, visually. (Winning the medal only a few years after receiving only a slightly less prestigious Caldecott Honor for Time Flies.
Almost the entire narrative of My Friend Rabbit is devoted to the task of getting the pilotless propeller plane out of a tree.
An elephant, a rhino, a hippo, a deer, an alligator, a squirrel, a bear and a goose all succumb to Rabbit's enthusiasm and find themselves stacked just short of the height required to extract the plane from the tree.
(The sight of Rabbit pushing, shoving, lugging and carrying these befuddled, much larger animals is one of the great joys of the book, as your giggling toddler will surely inform you.)
Of course, those big animals aren't very happy with Rabbit after their pile collapses and they all fall to the ground. Thank goodness that Mouse rescues his friend, pulling him out of reach above outstretched paws and trunks...
...with the propeller plane. This time they get lodged in the tree with the plane. But...
Not to worry, Mouse. I've got an idea.
Treat your littlest ones to a delightfully visual tale of friendship, silliness and errant adventure with My Friend Rabbit.
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