Rabbit And The Motorbike – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: Rabbit and the Motorbike

Author: Kate Hoefler/Sarah Jacoby

Illustrator: Kate Hoefler

Publisher: Chronicle Books, 2019

Themes: courage, travel, friendship, grief, expanding horizons, loss

Ages: 3-6

Synopsis:

Rabbit isn’t sure he’ll ever be brave enough to go on an adventure. He’s a homebody who lives in a quiet field of wheat he dreams of leaving every night. His world is enlarged by his friend Dog and Dog’s tales of motorbike adventures. But one day, Dog is gone, and with him, go the stories Rabbit loves so much. Dare Rabbit pick up the motorbike and live his own story? This timeless fable of the journey from grief to acceptance will touch every reader. For those confronting loss and those eager to explore and experience, Rabbit’s bravery in the face of sadness will console, nurture, and inspire.

Opening:

Rabbit lived in a quiet field of wheat that he never left–not even once–even though there was a road. And even though he dreamed he did every night.

Why I like this Book:

Rabbit and Dog have a sweet and complimentary friendship. Dog has lived a life of motorbike exploration, always on the road meeting new people and discovering new places but always returning to visit his quiet best friend Rabbit with whom he shares his travel exploits. The sharing has to be pretty intimate as Rabbit always feels as though wherever Dog had been, ‘Rabbit had been right there with him”.

In a sad and moving double-paged spread early on, we understand that Dog has died and Rabbit’s world has gone quiet. He is left with memories and the old motorbike bequeathed to him. The motorbike becomes a silent companion, a kind of reminder of Dog, though Rabbit begins to worry that his life is too quiet for the bike. These are really tender moments of grief where text and pictures will touch the readers’ hearts with the bittersweetness of memories.

In a poignant moment, after Rabbit has sat a long time with his grief and loss and hopes, the open road by his wheat field calls to him. In this moment, which has been subtly building, he makes a brave and joyful decision to follow in his friend’s footsteps and make some adventures of his own. As more of a Dog myself, I always hope to inspire my Rabbit friends who tell me they live vicariously through my trips to take their own one day. It doesn’t have to be far at all, just beyond the wheat field.

Hoefler’s story fills your heart up–with longing, with companionship, with loss, with courage. It is tender and and somehow the illustrator manages to convey both its weightiness and lightness with her beautiful brushwork and color. Picking up one’s life after losing a dear friend takes tremendous courage and I hope in this story is widely read but that it especially falls into young hands that need this timeless tale. And let’s keep sharing our stories with each other, for they have a power of intimacy.

Activities/Resources:

This book would pair very well with Brian Lies’ The Rough Patch, or Jessixa Bagley’s A Boat for Papa.

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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11 Responses to Rabbit And The Motorbike – Perfect Picture Book Friday

  1. Oh, this wasn’t on my radar. But now it is! Thanks for sharing! Gonna go look for this title now!

  2. Gabi Snyder says:

    I hadn’t heard of this one. Thanks for sharing; it looks incredibly moving! And I love the cover.

  3. Thank you for introducing this book to us. It sounds very moving!

  4. Oh what a treasure! I love the storytelling as the perspective is different and I love the friendship between Dog and Rabbit. It is such an important story for kids who are cautious to take chances. Will be checking this book out.

  5. Wow! I’m sold! This sounds like a book that would have been created by an author/illustrator, but no. The SFPL has 20 copies in circulation. I’m first in the hold line. Looking forward to reading this one. Thanks, Joanna!

    • Joanna says:

      Actually, I have corrected my information as I see I had misunderstood the creators. As I understand it there are co-authors and Kate is also the illustrator, so you are right!

  6. What a poignant book. I hadn’t seen this one either. I’ll see if my library has it or will buy it. Thanks for the heads up.

  7. Patricia Nozell says:

    This sounds like my kind of book, especially as I absolutely love the two suggested pairings. And thank you for those suggestions, as I hope to feature this one in a perfect pairing post.

  8. Sarah Tobias says:

    OK, I want to read this and I don’t. I don’t like to be sad, but I sure love to travel and experience the world.

    I need to recommend this book to my library for purchase. So far it is not available in our library system.

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