cover image Rabbityness


Jo Empson. Child’s Play (, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-84643-492-1

The inky black rabbit that stars in Empson’s debut is, in many ways, typical of his kind. “Rabbit liked hopping. Rabbit liked jumping.... Rabbit like washing his ears,” Empson writes, as Rabbit appears on patches of bright green turf studded with wildflowers. But there’s more to Rabbit than meets the eye: he also likes doing “unrabbity” things, especially painting and making music. An explosion of color accompanies Rabbit’s creative endeavors; splatters and splotches of magenta, blue, and fiery red paint burst across the forest landscape as Rabbit bounces across a spread holding a paintbrush. And Rabbit’s music making is done with an elaborately decorated alpenhorn, a multitude of colorful musical notes comingling with loosely sketched trees. When Rabbit disappears, his fellow rabbits are bereft, and the “woods were quiet and gray.” The paints, musical instruments, and artwork he leaves behind, however, help the rabbits move past the loss and discover their own creativity. It’s a somber but encouraging metaphor for the void created by someone’s departure or death—especially if that someone is the life of the party. Ages 4–8. (Nov.)