Saturday, April 26, 2008

Rabbit & Squirrel - A Tale of War and Peas

Rabbit & Squirrel: A Tale of War and Peas
by Kara LaReau
Illustrated by Scott Magoon
Harcourt Children's Books
ISBN-13: 978-0152063078

Once upon a time, there was a lovely, fluffy pink and sparkly book about a happy rabbit named Rabbit and her best friend, Squirrel. This is NOT that book.


We Chicks love sweet fluffiness in our cupcakes. We do NOT love sweet fluffiness pressed between the covers of a book. It makes the pages stick together and that makes us cranky.

We love books that tell us a good story in a funny, smart, and slightly mischievous way. Rabbit & Squirrel: A Tale of War and Peas is such a book. This new title is brought to us by Kara LaReau and Scott Magoon who recently collaborated on the wickedly dry underwater saga, Ugly Fish.

This is no corny tale of competition between friends. Rabbit and Squirrel are not friends. They are neighbors who barely notice each other until someone starts raiding their gardens. They jump to bad conclusions, blaming each other for the destruction. It is war!

Even when the true culprit is revealed, Rabbit and Squirrel can't let it go. They just don't know when to say when. Where will it end? (Sorry. You have to read the book to find out.)

LaReau's smart text is perfectly balanced with Magoon's nuanced illustrations which reveal Rabbit's and Squirrel's surprising breadth of emotion. If you've ever wondered what a vengeful rabbit or a suspicious squirrel might look like, this is the book for you. (If you haven't wondered that, what have you been doing with your spare time?)

Rabbit & Squirrel is no garden variety morality tale. It is a simple story that makes a big point without ever getting preachy or gooey. Exactly what we like to find between the covers of a book!