Saturday, 19 March 2011

The Great Rabbit Rescue

The Great Rabbit Rescue by Katie Davies and illustrated by Hannah Shaw (Simon and Schuster)
PB RRP $12.99
ISBN 978-184738596-3
Reviewed by Peta Biggin

Joe has gone to live with his dad and he’s had to leave behind his beloved pet rabbit.  His best friends, Anna and Suzanne, try to look after it for him but when the rabbit becomes ill they are convinced it’s because it is missing Joe.  Now that Joe has become sick as well, the girls are certain that both he and the rabbit are going to die.  So they decide to embark on a rescue mission, trying to get across town to Joe’s dad’s house to reunite the rabbit and its owner.  But, will they be in time?

The Great Rabbit Rescue is a very funny story told from the perspective of nine year old Anna.  Reading this book reminded me of many a conversation with children of the same age as our heroine.  There is a rambling quality to the narrative that brings an authenticity, without diluting the story.

Anna is a lovely character: curious, adventurous and loyal.  I found it difficult not to get caught up in her perspective of life and the world around her.  The overall tale is peppered with the little details that children find important and adults overlook: that rabbits need constant guarding from the neighbourhood cats; the finer points of walkie-talkie etiquette; whether a dictionary can be saved after it has been dropped in the toilet.

Apart from the humour, the thing about this book that really appealed to me was the wonderful sense of loyalty between the friends.  Despite their misguided motivations, the girls act out of a genuine desire to do the right thing for Joe.

Even though the main characters are girls, I would think that boys would find this just as enjoyable as girls.  Anna and Suzanne are quite tomboyish: they enjoy their secret club and bicycle stunts.  The book does appear quite long at over 200 pages, however the font is quite large and there are lots of wonderful black and white illustrations spread throughout to break up the pages.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Great Rabbit Rescue and would recommend it for any budding young rescuer.

Katie Davies has written for The Spectator and The Idler; and written and performed various sketches for the Radio 4 comedy show, One.  Her first children’s book The Great Hamster Massacre was published in 2010.  She lives in North London with her husband and baby daughter.  Hannah Shaw is a writer-illustrator who has created many picture and chapter books.  Some titles include: The Sleep Sheep, School for Bandits, How to Catch a Criminal (written by Dominic Barker) and Ghaddar the Ghoul (written by Sonia Nimr).  She currently lives in Gloucestershire with her husband.  

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