Last January I reviewed Scottish author Natalie Russell's appealing Moon Rabbit about a city rabbit who befriends a country rabbit. In Brown Rabbit in the City it is country rabbit's turn to leave home.
Rabbit hops on a bus to visit his friend, Little Rabbit, in the Big
City. Little Rabbit is so excited that she whisks her friend off on a
whirlwind tour of all the city has to offer: cafes, art galleries,
shopping, night clubs! She fails to notice, however, that all this
hustle and bustle has tired her friend out. When Brown Rabbit goes off
by himself Little Rabbit realizes that it is her he came to
visit, not the city sights. She takes Brown Rabbit to a city park and
the two friends bond once again over a guitar and some free-spirited
Like Moon Rabbit, Brown Rabbit in the City
is a visually appealing book. The earthly palette is similar to the
first book but with some bolder colors thrown in -- I assume because the
city is a bold place to be! The story and message about realizing the
value of friendship is right on target without being sappy and both my
kids really enjoyed it -- my three year old, especially.
I must admit that I am a little disappointed that the excitement of
city life had to be thrown under the bus for the sake of this message.
Russell's text effectively conveys the anxiety of Brown Rabbit as he is
dragged from one experience to another: "Up a tall building (Smile at
the camera!)/Down a crowded street (Watch your step!)/ Around an art
gallery (No! Don't Touch!)/ And underground to catch a train (Here it
comes!)." Of course, it's Little Rabbit who is at fault and not the City
itself, per se, and in the end "the two rabbits strolled slowly
through the city .. into a quiet beautiful garden" but I would have
loved it if Russell had found a way for Little Rabbit to share all the
joys of the city with Brown Rabbit, not just the ones that were similar
to his country home.
I realize I am nitpicking and I still highly recommend Brown Rabbit in the City:
it's beautiful to look at and the story of friendship is charming. I'm
hoping to see more of Natalie Russell's work in the future.
Visit the author's website.
Read a nice, concise review at Waking Brain Cells.