In honor of Easter today, I've saved this book review about a bunny. Hey, Rabbit! by Sergio Ruzzier is a quirky picture book, but one that I think toddlers will enjoy reading. Hey, Rabbit! features a white rabbit carrying a big blue suitcase. On every other page spread, Rabbit encounters one of his animal friends. Each animal says "Hey, Rabbit! Is there anything for me in your suitcase?" And then the animal asks for something specific to his own interests (a bone for the dog, a pillow for the sleepy bear, etc.).
Then the next page spread shows a colorful dream image, a fleshed out world that reflects and expands upon the thing that the animal asked for. For example, the toucan hopes for "a leaf to remind me of home". What spills out of the suitcase is a whole rainforest, full of plants and animals. A mouse seeking a bit of cheese sees a whole city made of cheese. And so on. Despite the fancy trappings, at the heart of each image, we see the animal with the smaller item that he's requested (e.g. the toucan with a leaf in his beak).
It took me a couple of readings to figure out what I think is going on with this book. I think that the animals are finding the specific items that they wish for, and that the scenes that they're seeing are expressions of the way that the item speaks to the animal's imagination, and real desire. Or something like that. It's a bit unclear. But the illustrations are a lot of fun, filled with details that kids will enjoy (look, the bear has a glass of honey next to his bed!).
I think that Hey, Rabbit! has a nice mix of comforting repetition and visual variety. Many of the animals share similar human-looking blue eyes, lending a certain continuity to the text. And, of course, all of the text is basically the same request, with small variations. I can imagine kids shouting out "Hey, Rabbit!" themselves by about the third one. And guessing what it is that the animal would like to see in the suitcase. I love how the words "Hey, Rabbit!" are in large-sized, multi-colored text at each repetition (like on the cover), positively encouraging the words to be shouted aloud.
[Oh, and just for blogging readers: one extra-fun thing about this book is that the back cover has a blurb for the author's previous book from "School Library Journal, FUSE #8 blog". Very cool!]
All in all, I think that Hey, Rabbit! should be a fun read-aloud for the preschool crowd. It's definitely worth a look!
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Publication Date: February 16, 2010
Source of Book: Review copy from the author
Other Blog Reviews: Not a review, but Sergio Ruzzier was featured recently on the 7-Imp Seven Kicks.
© 2010 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. All Amazon links in this post are affiliate links, and may result in my receiving a small commission on purchases (with no additional cost to you).