cover image Rabbit, Duck, and Big Bear

Rabbit, Duck, and Big Bear

Nadine Brun-Cosme, illus. by Olivier Tallec. Random House Studio, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-593-48698-6

In a long, leisurely setup to this reflective picture book by previous collaborators Brun-Cosme and Tallec (the Big Wolf and Little Wolf series), affectionate lines establish that Rabbit, Duck, and Big Bear are both best friends and constant companions: “They play together, eat together, and chop wood together. They run, hide, and chase each other.” Pencil and acrylic paint spreads show lean Duck, long-eared Rabbit, and wide-eyed Big Bear cavorting happily together through spring, summer, and fall. There’s one place they never go, though: a path that leads deeper into the forest. In the winter, having not yet learned how to stop on ice skates, Rabbit inadvertently travels down the path and finds a forest sanctuary beneath a majestic fir, where she “inhales the rich, earthy scent. She listens to the wind’s smooth sound.” The revelation that Big Bear and Duck have been there before, and regularly visit the glade alone, both surprises Rabbit and leads to a further kind of magic: that of contemplative solitude found and appreciated. Ages 4–8. Agent (for author and illustrator): Kirsten Hall, Catbird Productions. (Feb.)