The Knowing Book – Perfect Picture Book Friday

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knowTitle: The Knowing Book

Author: Rebecca Kai Dotlich

Illustrator: Matthew Cordell

Publisher: Boyds Mills Press, 2016

Themes: Enjoying the journey, discovery, what we can know, what we don’t know

Ages: 7-11


Before you forget

…look up.


Inspiring and wise, this story begins and ends with the sky that is always above you. In between, a young rabbit travels through the wide world, experiencing joy and sorrow and all the wonder that the world has to offer. Along the way he chooses a path, explores the unknown, and ventures along trails on and off the map. And at the end of the journey, braver and more confident, he returns home, the place he can always count on and will always know. This beautiful celebration of life is the perfect gift to mark any milestone in a child’s life from birth to graduation. (Goodreads)

Why I like this book:

I love the mix of contemplation and action in this beautiful soulful picture book. While the publisher suggests kindergarten up for the intended age, I feel the abstraction of the message may go over the heads of younger children, though they may certainly appreciate the wistful young bunny protagonist and his desire to explore his world and then return safely to waiting parents. A sense of wonder is sustained from the opening invitation to look up throughout the story. In each of the bunny’s activities from kite-flying to having a good cry, is a call to embrace the big and the small, the hard and the easy, the joyful and sad moments.

The use of every inch of the page on each of the double spreads by Cordell adds to the text an emphasis on the expansiveness of our universe, and how much there will always be to experience and explore. The reader’s own young wisdom is trusted to engage with this book and expand the imagining for their own lives. I appreciate the maturity of this text and would wish for more picture books of such a philosophical accessibility combined with poetic prose and tender, unhurried illustrations.


With a small group of kids or an individual, open a door, follow a trail and see where it leads!

Check out my interview with the illustrator, Matthew Cordell.

Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and/or activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

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10 Responses to The Knowing Book – Perfect Picture Book Friday

  1. Chattytcp says:

    It sounds like a lively read! Soulful contemplation – sounds like something I need right now. This book is NOW on my PB library list. Absolutely love the “Trail to nowhere.” Thank you for sharing 🙂

  2. I love that we are seeing more “soulful” books that create an appreciation for a lifetime of wonder. This books sounds extraordinary. I think I would love this book!

    • I also meant to mention I like the title of “Knowing.” I haven’t read the story, but it made me think of all the times we “know” things internally — a sense we many times ignore but as you suggest, trust.

  3. Really looking forward to reading this! Your activity is a favorite travel motto of mine!

  4. Andrea Mack says:

    Lovely cover! It seems like a book to spark thought and imagination.

  5. I haven’t heard of this one. Thanks for the review. I read a bunch of Rebecca’s books on my last trip to the library. And of course, Matthew’s art is always a treat.

  6. Sounds interesting… glad to see the emergence of a “quiet” book. 🙂

  7. Sounds a fascinating read! Thanks for sharing this title

  8. Keila Dawson says:

    Such a great reminder about the big and small in life so filled with wonder. Can’t wait to read it.

  9. This sounds dreamy. It reminds me of a star gazing app we just downloaded, which helps me remember to look up and pay attention to the stars 🙂

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