Rabbit's Bad Habits is the first in an exuberant and charming series charting the adventures of two unlikely friends. Rabbit and Bear's friendship is especially unlikely as, early in this book, Rabbit steals all Bear's food from her cave!
Neil Gaiman calls it: 'The sort of story that makes you want to send your children to bed early, so you can read it to them.' I completely agree, and the reason this book got chosen for a review was exactly that - we had so much fun reading it aloud, cackling at the startling, spot-on humour and falling in love with kind Bear and grumpy Rabbit that I want to make sure other parents know about the fun this series can bring to reading time!
Plot-wise, when good-natured Bear accidentally wakes up early and finds it's still winter, and that all her food has been stolen, she sets about making a snowman. Soon irascible Rabbit has joined her and is haughtily explaining a few things - like gravity for example, on which he is an expert, because 'Gravity nearly killed my Grandfather.' Bear also learns that rabbits have to eat their own poo and digest it twice to get all the nutrients out. My children and I all learnt this at the same time, to much hilarity, as you can imagine. Freddie, 7, says: 'I liked it when rabbit pooed and then ate the poo. It was really funny.' (Cue graphic demonstration and much giggling).
Julian Gough's text is quirky and lively with a distinctive style, and Jim Field's illustrations are a joy - the character's faces are so expressive and there's such dynamism in the drawing that it felt as though they might leap off the page. Together these two epic talents deliver a story that's both hilarious and very moving, and I'm thrilled to have the Rabbit and Bear books on our shelves at home!
Hodder Children's Books
Kelly McKain and Jon Stuart's new picture book series, The Woollies, is published by Oxford University Press. The first two titles are available now.
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