cover image The Magic Hare

The Magic Hare

Lynne Reid Banks. HarperCollins, $15 (49pp) ISBN 978-0-688-10895-3

An irrepressible hare dances his way through 10 stories, which take him from an English meadow to Transylvania to the moon. Along the way, he uses humor, wiles and magic to improve the situations of those he meets--teaching good manners to a bad-tempered queen; helping a timid orphan overcome her fears (and her appetite for hare); defanging a vampire. With her widely varied settings and diverse characters, Banks (the Indian in the Cupboard novels) delivers abundant amounts of fantasy; her stories also function as parables, aptly demonstrating the rewards of such qualities as curiosity, spontaneity and self-acceptance. Her most compelling tales are those in which the hare, as trickster, faces an intractable situation or foe; when he is simply deploying his magic powers the narrative moves with considerably less tension. Moser supplies a single full-page watercolor--in most cases a portrait of a central figure--to accompany each tale. His illustrations vary in mood and expression, from tender to terrifying, and provide strong, often strikingly affecting touchstones for the text. All ages. (Aug.)