cover image The Black Rabbit

The Black Rabbit

Philippa Leathers. Candlewick, $14 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7636-5714-7

One sunny day, a tiny white rabbit notices a gigantic and strangely quiet black rabbit by his side. No matter where he goes, “the Black Rabbit was right behind him.” Readers will immediately recognize the Black Rabbit as a shadow, yet its “pursuit” prompts the white bunny to take cover in “the deep, dark wood”—a poor course of action. Having evaded his silhouette, the bunny now faces “two eyes shining brightly in the dark.” He hurries back into sunlit fields, pursued by a slavering wolf, and braces for an attack that never comes; the Black Rabbit reappears and sends the predator scurrying. Leathers, an animator/illustrator making her children’s book debut, creates uncomplicated watercolor spreads that balance the ominous presence of the Black Rabbit with humor had at the white rabbit’s expense. Her bipedal, kawaii-influenced white bunny has an oversize head and petite body, and her snaggly-fanged, shaggy, and slant-eyed wolf recalls Lauren Child’s caricatures. Images of the long-eared shadow against river reeds and hedges lend an unsettling touch to a lightly funny, lightly creepy story. Ages 3–6. Agent: Kirsten Hall, the Bright Agency. (Jan.)