Tuesday 6 February 2024

Two Rabbits by Larissa Ferenchuk, illustrated by Prue Pittock (EK Books) HB RRP $24.99 ISBN: 9781922539656

Reviewed by Dannielle Viera

One-night, Little Grey Rabbit and Little Brown Rabbit have an argument. Their harsh words are ‘carried along by the wind’. The two rabbits stomp away in opposite directions. In their fury and sadness, it is hard for them to find joy even in their favourite places. As loneliness sets in, the wind whispers words of harmony. The two rabbits run towards each other. They each apologise and admit that they make mistakes. Their gentle words are ‘carried along by the wind’.

Larissa Ferenchuk’s simple story features an all-too-familiar situation for many kids aged four to eight: a blow-up between best buddies. Rather than bounding blindly along the road to anger, the two rabbits soon realise that forgiveness is the best path to follow. While the wind reminds the protagonists to ‘be kind’, it is only when the two rabbits choose compassion over contempt that their friendship is mended.

Although Prue Pittock’s illustrations are largely two-dimensional, she deftly applies linework to develop density and movement across the pages. Just a few dots and dashes on the rabbits’ faces is all it takes to reveal to readers the deepest of feelings. Stormy grey skies echo the tempestuous emotions below; a warm pink dawn embraces the rabbits’ reconciliation.

Fixing a broken bond is never easy, but Two Rabbits encourages youngsters to take responsibility for their words and actions and make amends when another person has been hurt. This is conflict resolution on a small scale, a skill that no doubt will come in handy as kids hop into adulthood.

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