cover image How Jackrabbit Got His Very Long Ears

How Jackrabbit Got His Very Long Ears

Heather Irbinskas. Rising Moon Books, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-87358-566-8

Irbinskas's first picture book, a Southwestern ``just so'' approach to the traits of several desert animals, seems dated: the lessons are spelled out, the story is surpriseless and the overblown, poster-like illustrations show ``real'' animals with human expressions and feelings. A benevolent, bearded, cloud-figure Great Spirit lends an ersatz Native American tone, altogether false to the regional Native religious sense of a pervasive animistic spirit. Following a lengthy cosmogony, Great Spirit creates Jackrabbit to lead other new animals to their homes. Predictably, Jackrabbit doesn't listen up and delivers erroneous, negative messages to Tortoise, Bobcat and Roadrunner (the latter, for example, is told that he doesn't have wings like an eagle's because he's a less important creature). Great Spirit steps in to point out to each animal the survival value of his perceived shortcoming, then kindly supplies Jackrabbit with longer ears. The author intrudes at the end to say that ``if you try to sneak up on a jackrabbit, you'll find he has very good hearing indeed!'' Ages 5-up. (May)