Rohmann, Eric. 2002. MY FRIEND RABBIT. Brookfield,
Conn.: Roaring Brook Press. ISBN: 0761324208.
MY FRIEND RABBIT is an endearing
story of a friendship between a mouse and a rabbit. The story is told both through
prose and pictures. It begins on the title page where the illustration shows
that Mouse has just received an airplane (lifesized – at least for a mouse!) as a gift.
On the title page verso, Rabbit has picked up the plane (with Mouse in it) and tossed it into the air – but Mouse
has fallen out of the plane! The text begins here with “My friend Rabbit
means well. But whatever he does, wherever he goes, (and on the next page) trouble
follows.” Here the plane gets stuck in the branches of a tree. Mouse is obviously distressed, but Rabbit scurries to fix the problem.
He builds a ladder out of animals beginning with an elephant. The story
progresses with Rabbit building his “ladder” out of smaller and smaller animals, most of whom look rather worried. By climbing to the top of the ladder and being held out by Squirrel, Mouse is just
barely able to reach his airplane when the ladder collapses! The plane is dislodged
with Mouse in the cockpit. Rabbit must leap to hold onto its tail as the disgruntled
animals out reach to grab him. The written story resumes at this point with “But
Rabbit means well. And he is my friend.
Even if, whatever he does, wherever he goes, trouble follows.” The
story ends with the airplane stuck in the tree again – this time with Mouse and Rabbit in it!
The illustrations are bold with
bright colors and black outlines. No white backgrounds here! The expressions of the animals are priceless as Rabbit pushes and prods them into place. All of the illustrations are pleasing, but probably the most fun one is when the “ladder” is
complete and the reader must turn the book sideways to see the tall, double-page ladder of animals. Especially endearing are the baby ducks on the ground looking worriedly up at their mother in the middle
of the stack. The funniest page is when the animals all crash to the ground. Young children will surely giggle at the expressions Rohmann has managed to convey. In its review of the book, School Library Journal says, “children will enjoy
the comically expressive pictures of the animals before and after their attempt to extract the plane.
With its beautiful illustrations
and simple text, this gentle story will appeal to children ages 4 through 8 for many years to come.