cover image The Royal Rabbits of London

The Royal Rabbits of London

Santa Montefiore and Simon Sebag Montefiore, illus. by Kate Hindley. Aladdin, $16.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-4814-9860-9

The Montefiores, who are spouses and bestselling adult authors, shine in their debut collaboration and first book for children, which blends a contemporary setting with old-fashioned charms. Originally published in the U.K., their rabbit saga opens in rural England, where Shylo Tawny-Tail, an eye-patch-wearing runt of the litter, overhears three camera-toting rats—aka Ratzis—hatching a nefarious plan. They intend to sneak into the Queen’s bedroom in Buckingham Palace, photograph her in her nightie, and sell the scandalous pictures online. Horatio, the warren’s wise elder, dispatches Shylo to warn the Royal Rabbits who live below the palace and protect the royals: “Go! By will and by luck, with a moist carrot, a wet nose, and a slice of mad courage!” Shylo wends his way to London and, conquering fears and self-doubt, leads the delightfully eccentric Royal Rabbits on a labyrinthine search for a secret tunnel to foil the rats’ paparazzi-style scheme. Composed of whisker-thin lines, newcomer Hindley’s scratchy b&w illustrations echo the classic qualities of this polished animal fantasy driven, of all things, by a defense of one’s right to privacy in a digital world. Ages 8–12. (Jan.)