The Rabbit and the Shadow

Mélanie Rutten, trans. from the French by Sarah Ardizzone. Eerdmans, $18 (56p) ISBN 978-0-8028-5485-8
At the heart of this many-stranded tale by Belgian author-artist Rutten is the love shared by the Stag and the Rabbit. Like all guardians, the Stag knows that the Rabbit may someday leave, and he does, though not on purpose: the Rabbit is corralled by a small, angry Soldier. Soon after, they meet a Cat who dreams of a house “full of laughter and light.” As the three journey, Rabbit consoles himself at night with the story Stag told him about the Great Bear who dances in the sky. When the three notice a threatening-looking shadow among the trees, Rabbit is the only one who isn’t scared, as he recognizes the Great Bear herself. Rutten’s simply drawn vignettes glow with an otherworldly stained-glass light. She follows each of the story’s characters to a new place. The Soldier reveals a secret, the Cat finishes his dream, and a friendly Book helps to reunite the Stag and the Rabbit. Rabbit’s adventures explore the pain of separation and the struggle to be true to oneself. What is the one thing, Rutten asks, that we’re not willing to give up? Ages 5–9. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/15/2018
Release date: 02/01/2018
Genre: Children's
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