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Deidre's Book Reviews

My Friend Rabbit
True Believer
The Tale of Despereaux
The Giver
The First Part Last
A Single Shard
How Angel Peterson Got His Name
SHAKA: King of the Zulus
The Gold Cadillac
Freedman's Voice that Challenged A Nation
Messages in the Mailbox
Seymour's Stars
Author Study: Joyce Carol Thomas
My Favorite Joyce Carol Thomas Books
Suggested Response Activity
Review of Thomas's Hush Songs
Review of Thomas's Gingerbread Days
Ride a Purple Pelican
My Momma Likes to Say
My Man Blue
Beast Feast
The Stinky Cheese Man
Once Upon A Time
My Friend Rabbit
Caring for Your Pets
Two Bad Ants
Rohmann, Eric.  2002. MY FRIEND RABBIT
                    Brookfield:Roaring Brook Press.  ISBN: 0-7613-
MY FRIEND RABBIT is about a mouse and his friend, Rabbit.  Even though Rabbit seems born for trouble, Mouse continues to be a friend.  Rabbit flies Mouse's toy airplane  and gets it stuck in a tree. But he convinced his friend, Mouse that he has an idea to get it down. Rabbit piles elephants, deer, ducks, and other animals of various sizes  on top of each other to reach the toy.  The illustrations help develop the plot of the story.  There are some wordless pages of the story, where the plot is unfolded through the picture. This is clearly visible when Rabbit gathers and stacks the animals so that Mouse can reach the stuck plane in the tree. 
The illustrator uses curved lines to communicate to the reader the flow of action - you can see this in the scene where Rabbit flies the toy plane up into the sky, getting stuck in the tree.  So, even though you don't realistically see curving lines when a plane flies through the air, you know that the curving lines represent movement.
There are certain shapes, like the plane and Rabbit that are made dominant, while others (like Mouse) are smaller and darker.  This is to attract the reader's eye.  This is especially important because Rabbit is the main focus of the story.
The story teaches about friends and how to accept them even though they may make mistakes.  The author uses the repetitive phrase of Rabbit's, "Not to worry- I've got an idea," to help gather the perception of Rabbit's character that is determined not to give up and fret over his mistakes despite the trouble he finds himself.  It is easy to think of someone you know who is just like Rabbit.  The author has made the characters believable.    

Rohman uses very few words- mostly pictures to tell the story.  This challenges the readers to add in their versions of what happens in the story. It also helps to keep the story short and easy to read.   Representational art is used to define the characters in the book, a rabbit, mouse, and other unnamed animals. In addition, Rohmann made the facial expressions on the animals look angry.  Even though the text described the scene, it was very obvious how the animals were feeling by the illustrations

The text and illustrations also work together to tell the story.  The pictures are large and clear for the reader to determine what is in each illustration.  The plot of the story flows and makes the reader want to finish reading the book.  Just as Pam Conrad suggests (in Jacobs & Tunnel, 15), I found myself wondering about the "major dramatic question" of what will happen at the end of the story.  This is also a result of the tension, which strikes interest in the story.

I do not think it was by chance that Rohmann decided not to name the animals instead of keeping their animal titles.  It seems appropriate for Rabbit to be named "Rabbit" because of his character- always hopping here and there finding mischief along the way but, continuing to hop nevertheless.

This is a delightful book to read for young children.  Even with few words, so much can be taken from the story!

Updated: Feb. 7, 2005

The illustrations of the book, hand-colored relief prints with heavy black outlines are magnificent, and children will enjoy the comically expressive pictures of the animals before and after their attempt to extract the plane (School Library Journal, 2002).