Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld

I’m always fascinated by authors who are able to span a wide range of styles and subjects. Cori Doerrfeld is the author many cute and popular picture books, as well as the graphic novel series Cici: A Fairy’s Tale. She turns to a more serious subject in this simple but profound picture book.

Taylor, a child with a riot of dark curls and rosy cheeks against tan skin, puts everything she has into building an amazing block tower. Then, out of nowhere, a flock of frantic blackbirds swoops through the creation is gone. Taylor is devastated. One by one, animals approach to try and make her feel better. Does she want to talk-talk-talk about it with the chicken? Roar with the bear? Knock down someone else’s creation with the snake? Taylor just wants to be left alone. So all the animals leave. But then the rabbit comes. The rabbit doesn’t roar or talk or get mad. The rabbit just sits by Taylor and waits. And when Taylor is ready to talk, the rabbit is ready to listen. And when Taylor is ready to build again, the rabbit is still there, ready to help.

Doerrfeld’s illustrations are soft and spare, but beautifully capture Taylor’s emotions and the animals’ well-meant but misplaced attempts to help. Against a stark white background, Taylor is a hunched little figure in her striped blue and white pajamas. The animals are indignant when Taylor doesn’t immediately join in with their plans, but when the soft, brown rabbit comes, its gentle smile and quiet presence are just what Taylor needs.

Verdict: A perfect choice to help children express their feelings as well as how to help a friend. Whether they are experiencing frustration, anger, and grief over something big or small, everyone wants someone to just listen. This would make a thoughtful gift for even an adult going through a rough time as well.

ISBN: 9780735229358; Published 2018 by Dial/Penguin; Review copy provided by the publisher; Donated to the library

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