‘Rabbit and Bear- Rabbit’s Bad Habits’ by Julian Gough and Jim Field.
Published by Hodder £9.99 hardback
Illustrated by Jim Field @_JimField
Text by Julian Gough @juliangough
So what did I think?
I know people often say don’t judge a book by its cover, but for this book please do. The very first thing that I have to point out is just how gorgeous the quality of this book is. The hardback cover is a tactile (not to mention a visual delight), and the beautifully thick pages and divine brand-new-book smell are truly enticing! Throughout, Jim Field’s ice blue and monochrome illustrations lock us into the snowy world of Rabbit and Bear.
The classic pairing of a bear and a rabbit gets a fresh new twist here. The story starts with Bear, a kind and optimistic type of soul, being woken from her hibernating slumber by a robber standing on her nose. She discovers that her stash of delicious food has gone. When she goes out to investigate, she sees the snow outside, so decides to build a snowman. See: she’s cheery!
Rabbit then appears, throwing gloomy remarks around and revealing a complete lack of tact and diplomacy (as well as a very dodgy moral compass as a robber!). He knows rather a lot about Important Stuff, however, like gravity and avalanches and rabbit digestion. But mainly he just eats. And poos. And eats poo. Bear listens patiently without judgement. So when Rabbit realises that Bear is hungry, he feels a twitch of guilt and gives her a carrot (never mind the fact that its old, black and floppy!)
As the story goes on the Rabbit and Bear keep running into each other, and their relationship grows. Bear is relentlessly patient and friendly, and Rabbit is relentlessly snarky and competitive. But when a hungry wolf shows up, Rabbit is forced to rethink his actions.
This is a great book about friendship, honesty, and being yourself. There is so much going on here: jokes galore, scientific information, comic illustrations and endearing characters, so there’s so much to get out of it. Jim Field has made this book an absolute beauty, which perfectly matches Julian Gough’s cleverly told classic-feel story. I’m so glad there will be a next one called The Pest in the Nest, although there’s a bit of a wait for that (Jan 2017 according to Amazon)
This book would be perfect for teachers to use in class (maybe Years 3 and 4), and brilliant for bedtime stories. The quality of the book is really special, and would make a great gift for a 6-9 year old.
I’m sure this would suit kids who also enjoyed Oliver and the Seawigs (Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre), Fortunately The Milk (Neil Gaiman) and Pigsticks and Harold (Alex Milway).