A little rabbit’s sense of wonder
A curious young bunny hops out for an adventure, all by himself, in Little White Rabbit, the latest creation from Caldecott-winning author-illustrator Kevin Henkes. The rabbit wonders about everything. Like the children who will read about him, he takes the time to notice his surroundings and imagines: What would it be like to be different? What would it be like to be green? Tall? Unable to move? Able to flutter and fly?
When Little White Rabbit is simply being a rabbit, he safely fits in the middle of a square green frame, doing normal rabbity things. With a deft page turn, Henkes shows the full scale of Rabbit’s imagination. The frames are gone when Rabbit’s prodigious imagination pushes the action across an entire two-page spread, not even leaving room for words!
Like Kitten’s First Full Moon, winner of the 2005 Caldecott Medal,this newest Henkes offering invites very young readers to slow down and think their way into a character’s imagination. When Rabbit is green, all the green critters are literally bug-eyed in surprise. A crowd of normal-sized bunnies circle the giant rabbit who is so tall that the trees bend under his weight. My favorite pages, a nod to William Steig’s Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, show time passing when Rabbit imagines “what it would be like not to be able to move.” Rabbit is a stone, portrayed in four panels showing bright sun, rain, sunset and moon bathing him in his stillness.
But, though Rabbit might wonder about all these things, in the end, he finds himself sharing a warm nose kiss with his parent, who loves Rabbit best of all. Ahhhh.