Sunday 21 October 2012

Brave Squish Rabbit

Brave Squish Rabbit Brave Squish Rabbit written and illustrated by Katherine Battersby (University of Queensland Press)
HB RRP $19.95
ISBN 978-0-7022-4943-3
Reviewed by Jo Antareau

A follow up to Squish Rabbit, this beautiful picture book is immediately appealing.  Its padded cover engages the tactile sense, and children will also enjoy exploring the glow-in-the-dark feature. All this before the book has even been opened!

The story tells the adventure of Squish Rabbit, a small creature, who is able to put his biggest fears aside to search for his missing friend. His fears are those shared by many children – the dark, storms, and animals (in his case, chickens).

Although Battersby, a paediatric Occupational Therapist, stated that she used the approach outlined when helping children with fears, the dialectical component of the piece is never allowed to overshadow the storyline. Told simply and economically, the story flows at its own pace.

Some passages are narrated entirely in pictures, and children can follow Squish Rabbit’s progress as he approaches a scary silhouette, loses his nerve and runs for cover, but has to return to retrieve his own dropped toy, and inadvertently comes close enough to face one of his biggest fears.

Although the story is about feeling frightened, the illustrations are not scary. Beautiful, with bold colours and layers of textures, the pictures are simple and reassuring to a young reader.  Brave Squish Rabbit is a wonderful addition to any child’s bookshelf. 

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