1.08.2012

Furry City: Brown Rabbit In The City

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.
Brown 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 dancing.

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.

However, 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.

Want More?
Visit the author's website.
Read a nice, concise review at Waking Brain Cells.

13 comments:

Dorine White said...

Thanks for the critical review.

Loni Edwards said...

This looks like a good book to check out at the library. I will add to my list. I am going to look for the first book Moon Rabbit also. Thanks for being so honest with your review.

Raising a Happy Child said...

Well, the city life is not for everyone. Sounds like an interesting book to check out!

mary kinser said...

Just found your blog through the Comment Challenge. Love it! I appreciate your honesty and critical eye in reviewing.

Margo Dill said...

You make an interesting point about the book's plot and the city life--but it is so true that you can take a rabbit out of the country but you can't take the country out of the rabbit. . .:)

Laurisa White Reyes said...

My four-year-old would love it. - LWReyes, author of The Rock of Ivanore (http://1000wrongs.blogspot.com)

Kathy Cannon Wiechman said...

While city life may be fun, perhaps some need to take it more slowly & in small doses. Liked your commentary.
Kathy Cannon Wiechman (Swagger Writers)

Mindy said...

Thanks for this review. I've seen this book at the library, but never picked it up.

Playing by the book said...

It's got me thinking, are there any picture books that take the opposite approach - that leave the countryside and explicitly suggest that the real delights are to be found in cities. I can imagine such an approach might not be as popular, but I also know plenty of people who grew up in the countryside and for whom the city is the place of delight and space.

anniecardi said...

Wonderful review! I know I try to plan out every minute so they're never bored, but so often the best parts of visits are about being with each other--whether you're in the city or the country.

Blessy Mathew said...

I appreciate your honest review, and you've brought up some good points. It's really interesting how writers create characters and place them in an environment other than their own. Readers come to the page with certain expectations of the challenges these characters may face. It's up to the author to make the story fresh and convincing.

MotherReader said...

Ah, you've hit on one of my pet peeves of some city books where it is somehow lesser to the joys of the countryside. But like you say, it is also about paying attention to the needs of others. I'll be looking for the book myself. Thanks for the recommendation.

Camille said...

I appreciate your honest review - it sounds like a fun book and I like the look of the artwork from the cover!

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