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The rabbit listened
2018
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Trade Reviews

  New York Times Review

In this latest crop of picture books, you'll find an understanding rabbit, a grandmas goodie-stuffed purse, and Junot Diaz's debut. BUS! STOP! Written and illustrated by James Yang A little boy with a backpack misses his bus. Bummer. Then comes a succession of buslike vehicles - a covered wagon, a ship - that are definitely not what he's waiting for. This ingenious book will call out to toddlers, but keep it around for early readers, too. The words are simple, and Yang's witty art is built to last. 32 pp. Viking. $17.99. (Ages 2 to 5) THE RABBIT LISTENED Written and illustrated by Cori Doerrfeld Onesie-wearing Taylor, who's wonderfully drawn to be either a boy or a girl, builds a block tower that falls down. Everyone who comes by to help, including a chicken and an elephant, is full of well-meaning advice. Only a silent rabbit offers what Taylor - like all of us - needs: the comfort of someone who will just listen, laugh and give a hug. 40 pp. Dial. $17.99. (Ages 3 to 6) HELLO, HELLO Written and illustrated by Brendan Wenzel Wenzel's "They All Saw a Cat" played with different creatures' points of view. This book spreads its arms wider, introducing the staggering range of species that share the earth - many of them endangered or threatened. Wenzel's vibrant collaged art and simple rhythms call to mind Eric Carle, with a factual-minded touch. 48 pp. Chronicle. $17.99. (Ages 5 to 8) THE WORD COLLECTOR Written and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds Jerome collects not things but words - lovely ones like "willow" and "spark" - and decides to share them. As always, Reynolds ("The Dot") brings an enchanting light hand to deeper themes. In Jerome's quest to spread the beauty of language, the story acquires the timeless, classic quality of Leo Lionni's tale of Frederick the mouse. 40 pp. Orchard Books. $17.99. (Ages 4 to 8) GRANDMA'S PURSE Written and illustrated by Vanessa BrantleyNewton This warm trip through the wonderland of Grandma Mimi's purse is really a tribute to the steadying force of grandparental love in a child's life. It also brims with adorable small stuff to look at. No illustrator does clothes, décor and style better than Brantley-Newton ("The Youngest Marcher"). 32 pp. Knopf. $17.99. (Ages 4 to 8) VINCENT COMES HOME Written and illustrated by Jessixa Bagley and Aaron Bagley Jessixa Bagley's books featuring woodland animals include "Boats for Papa," an honestto-God tear-jerker. Here she's teamed with her husband, Aaron Bagley, for the tale of a ship's cat who learns what "home" means. Wider-ranging than her solo books, it's just as satisfying and emotionally astute. 38 pp. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter. $17.99. (Ages 4 to 8) ALL THAT TRASH: THE STORY OF THE 1987 GARBAGE BARGE AND OUR PROBLEM WITH STUFF Written and illustrated by Meghan McCarthy With her exuberantly silly illustrations, McCarthy ("Earmuffs for Everyone!") has a great way with nonfiction picture books. This one - about an oozing, fly-infested barge of New York City garbage that became famous for traveling the seas unable to find a willing dump - raises awareness of our national trash problem. As children know, the truth is so often stranger than fiction. 48 pp. Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster. $17.99. (Ages 4 to 8) BEAR AND WOLF Written and illustrated by Daniel Salmieri Salmieri, known for his visual humor ("Dragons Love Tacos"), shows his writing chops in this stunning, serene and philosophical book. A bear and a wolf, out for nighttime walks, hike through snowy winter vistas. Nothing much happens: Sometimes, peaceful companionship and a mutual appreciation of beauty are more than enough. 48 pp. Enchanted Lion. $17.95. (Ages 4 to 8) GRACE FOR GUS By Harry Bliss. Illustrated by Harry Bliss and Frank Young In this wordless graphic novel-style picture book, Grace's class wants a new hamster. She sneaks out to raise money by busking, drawing and dancing. Bliss, a New Yorker cartoonist, piles on funny Manhattan details kids may miss, but they'll love Grace's spunky quest to make a difference on her own. 40 pp. Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins. $17.99. (Ages 5 and up) ISLANDBORN By Junot Diaz. Illustrated by Leo Espinosa The other kids in Lola's class recall their homelands, but she doesn't. So she gathers stories of "the Island." With Espinosa's bright illustrations creating just the right mood, Diaz, the author of acclaimed adult books including "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao," celebrates an immigrant community and testifies to the experiences of Dominicans who fled the dictator Rafael Trujillo, called simply "the Monster." 48 pp. Dial. $17.99. (Ages 5 to 8) maria russo is the children's books editor of the Book Review.

  Publishers Weekly Review

It's something people of all ages struggle with: what's the best way to comfort someone? Taylor, a curly-haired boy in a striped onesie, is miserable after a flock of birds knocks down his amazing wooden-block tower. One by one, several animals approach him with strategies for feeling better. A bear advises rage ("Let's shout about it! Garrr! RARRR! GRAAAAR!"), and a snake suggests making someone else miserable ("Shhhhh. Let'ssss go knock down someone else'ssss"). Taylor refuses to be comforted in the ways the animals see fit, and they leave. Then along comes a rabbit who doesn't say a thing, but in its willingness to listen, persist, and be physically close ("It moved closer, and closer. Until Taylor could feel its warm body"), Taylor senses genuine concern and respect for his feelings. He opens up in all of the ways the animals previously suggested, but now it's on his terms-and then he's ready to build again. Each of Doerrfeld's highly distilled and elegantly concise vignettes brims with emotional honesty and profound empathy. The result is a story that's wise, funny, and easy to take to heart. Ages 3-5. Agent: Rachel Orr, Prospect Agency. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

  School Library Journal Review

PreS-K-Taylor is excited about building something. But when that something falls apart, Taylor is devastated. Enter the well-meaning animals, each eager to share an opinion on how to fix the situation. However, Taylor doesn't want to talk about it or shout about it or remember how it used to be. Taylor doesn't want to laugh about it or hide and pretend it didn't happen or throw it away or even knock down someone else's something. Only Rabbit, with a quiet presence, is able to reach Taylor. "Through it all, the Rabbit never left." Only then could Taylor feel empowered to work through feelings and rebuild. Doerrfeld has written a gem of a story that will resonate with even the youngest of children who struggle with frustration. By respecting the child, Doerrfeld has provided space for problem-solving, and Rabbit paves the way for Taylor's journey to be valued. The use of nongender-specific characters increases the tale's relatability. Lori Gardner's vocal talent in bringing the animals to life lends a sense of realism that is appealing and endearing. VERDICT In its simplicity, this story is powerful and transforming. By affirming everyone's experience as they try to become thoughtfully independent, this book deserves space on the library shelf.-Terri Perper, Olney Elementary School, MD © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Summary
A universal, deeply moving exploration of grief and empathy <br> <br> With its spare, poignant text and irresistibly sweet illustrations, The Rabbit Listened is a tender meditation on loss.<br> <br> When something terrible happens, Taylor doesn't know where to turn. All the animals are sure they have the answer. The chicken wants to talk it out, but Taylor doesn't feel like chatting. The bear thinks Taylor should get angry, but that's not quite right either. One by one, the animals try to tell Taylor how to process this loss, and one by one they fail. Then the rabbit arrives. All the rabbit does is listen, which is just what Taylor needs.<br> <br> Whether read in the wake of tragedy or as a primer for comforting others, this is a deeply moving and unforgettable story sure to soothe heartache of all sizes.
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