cover image The Rabbit Listened

The Rabbit Listened

Cori Doerrfeld. Dial, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7352-2935-8

It’s something people of all ages struggle with: what’s the best way to comfort someone? Taylor, a curly-haired boy in a striped onesie, is miserable after a flock of birds knocks down his amazing wooden-block tower. One by one, several animals approach him with strategies for feeling better. A bear advises rage (“Let’s shout about it! Garrr! RARRR! GRAAAAR!”), and a snake suggests making someone else miserable (“Shhhhh. Let’ssss go knock down someone else’ssss”). Taylor refuses to be comforted in the ways the animals see fit, and they leave. Then along comes a rabbit who doesn’t say a thing, but in its willingness to listen, persist, and be physically close (“It moved closer, and closer. Until Taylor could feel its warm body”), Taylor senses genuine concern and respect for his feelings. He opens up in all of the ways the animals previously suggested, but now it’s on his terms—and then he’s ready to build again. Each of Doerrfeld’s highly distilled and elegantly concise vignettes brims with emotional honesty and profound empathy. The result is a story that’s wise, funny, and easy to take to heart. Ages 3–5. Agent: Rachel Orr, Prospect Agency. (Feb.)