cover image The Last Rabbit

The Last Rabbit

Shelley Moore Thomas, illus. by Julie Mellan. Random/Lamb, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-593-17353-4

Thomas (Secrets of Selkie Bay) blends life lessons and magical elements in an imaginative journey of mourning and maturation. After the deaths of their magician mother and pilot father in WWII London, narrator Albie and her three sisters, all Irish, are sent not back to Cork, but to Hybrasil, an enchanted sinking island, to live with an old man known as the Magician—their maternal grandfather, whom they’ve never met. Soon after, Albie’s magical attempt to bring her mother back turns the girls into rabbits, an occurrence that can only be reversed by each leaving the island. One by one, they must willingly head out to discover their destinies, ferried to their destination by the Boy and protected by the Magician’s weakening magic. At book’s start, only curious Albie remains, listening to the versifying sea, reading the Magician’s papers, and stubbornly refusing to take on the unknown, despite the old man’s insistence that “sometimes letting go is courageous.” In Albie’s strong first-person voice, Thomas narrates the rabbit’s journey through time and space and her attempts to reassemble her family, exploring the cost of action and inaction via an immersive adventure that references Celtic folklore and children’s classics. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8–up. [em]Agent: Jordan Hamessley, New Leaf Literary. (Feb.) [/em]