Moon Rabbit

Cover

Written and Illustrated by Natalie Russell

Viking, 2009

Little Rabbit liked living in the city.

The plot in a nutshell:  A rabbit finds a new friend.

Little Rabbit loves all her special places in the city, but sometimes she gets lonely and wishes there was another rabbit like her to have fun with. One day, while Little Rabbit is sitting in the park reading a book, she hears lovely music and it lulls her to sleep. When she wakes up, it’s nighttime and the moon is shining in the sky. She notices the music is still going on, so she follows it to its source and finds a brown rabbit playing guitar. She dances to the music and the two rabbits talk about their lives. They play and laugh and are happy to be together. But one night, Little Rabbit starts missing the city and nothing Brown Rabbit does can make her smile. She returns to the city and all the things she loves there and looks forward to Brown Rabbit’s visit to the city to spend time with her.

Author/illustrator Natalie Russell gives us a visually striking story of two different characters from different places and the friendship they build. The book’s plot feels a little muddled to me and I read it through a few times, certain that I missed something somewhere. Brown Rabbit’s appearance in the park seemed almost ethereal at first and I wondered if he was even real. Then I wondered if they were meant to represent different things, but I couldn’t figure out what. Ultimately, I took it at face value as the story of two friends with different lifestyles, but taken at face value, it seems less satisfying.

City

I’m sure that carrot pocketbook goes over well at the Carrot Cafe.

The artwork, though, does not disappoint at all. Both rabbits are represented very simply as rabbit-shaped white and brown outlines, while the backgrounds are detailed and complex, in colors that feel muted at some times and bold at others. The moon appears as a patchwork of colors that suits both the city and the park perfectly. I enjoyed the art work a great deal, but wished there was more to this otherwise lackluster story. Ms. Russell has published a sequel, in which we see what happens during Brown Rabbit’s visit and has used these characters in a couple of additional stories, as well.

And what did we learn?  What I take away from this book is that the best friends balance their time so that both of them get to be comfortable and happy.

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