cover image Rabbit & Bear: Rabbit’s Bad Habits

Rabbit & Bear: Rabbit’s Bad Habits

Julian Gough, illus. by Jim Field. Silver Dolphin, $9.99 (112p) ISBN 978-1-68412-588-3

Gough’s children’s debut, a series starter that was first published in the U.K. in 2016, chronicles a rocky friendship between clever, grouchy Rabbit and slow-moving, gentle Bear, with some eye-opening biology thrown in for free. After discovering that her hibernation food stash has been stolen, Bear encounters grumpy Rabbit, whose response to her friendly overtures isn’t promising (“Go away... and take your avalanche with you”). Back in his hole, Rabbit is revealed as the food thief. He tucks into Bear’s delicious grub, and then—“he did a little poo and ate it.” Witnessing this personal moment, Bear inquires after it politely. In a hilarious and enlightening sequence, Rabbit explains why rabbits need the extra digestive go-round (“It’s really, really difficult to make a rabbit out of plants”). Bear starts to understand Rabbit’s physiology (and grouchiness) better, and Rabbit comes to value Bear’s playful nature—a virtue that proves lifesaving when a hungry wolf appears. Illustrations by Field (The Koala Who Could) appear on every page, featuring elastic facial expressions and frenetic action that keeps the energy crackling. Gough aces the characters’ bumpy encounters, and the intimate details of Rabbit’s life are guaranteed to make even the squeamish laugh—and learn. Ages 8–12. [em](Jan.) [/em]