Rita’s Rabbit by Laura Mucha and Hannah Peck

Rita’s Rabbit – at a glance

The School Reading Lists’ five word review: interesting, engaging, spiky, surprising, unconventional.
Children’s book title: Rita’s Rabbit.
Children’s author: Laura Mucha.
Children’s illustrator: Hannah Peck.
Genre: picture book.
Published by: Faber and Faber.
ISBN: 9780571352746
Recommended for children aged: 0-5
This edition published: May 2021.
This children’s book is ideal for: reading and discussing with preschool children.

Rita’s Rabbit by Laura Mucha and Hannah Peck

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Our review:

During the great transitions of our lives important lessons have to be absorbed if we are to progress fully to the next stage.

From infancy to childhood it is vital for us to appreciate that other beings (human and animal) exist separately and yet can feel pain and pleasure more or less exactly as we do.

A more subtle realisation awaits us a little later: what we think we want, the thing we shape in our minds as the focus of all satisfaction and fulfilment, may in fact be the very last thing we need, and what has been under our noses the whole time is, in reality, the thing we want most.

This is the great message of Rita’s Rabbit.

Rita is desperate to be given a rabbit for her birthday. Instead, her grandpa gets her Spike, a bearded dragon. (The drawing of it emerging from its box, wearing a party hat, is a delight.) Rita is crushed by disappointment. Then a rabbit arrives, unexpectedly. But it proves to be nothing like the fluffy affectionate creature of her dreams. It is destructive, aggressive and unpleasant. Finally, its real owners reclaim it and Rita sees how lovable and loyal Spike had been all along.

When I read this with my grandson I’m hoping something deeper will settle in his mind; an awareness that ideas, people and art are always more interesting and engaging if they are spiky, surprising and unconventional rather than safe and bland.

This is a cheering, enjoyable story, made more so by Hannah Peck’s detailed and funny illustrations.

Faber have a long tradition of publishing high-quality children’s books, starting with T S Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats in 1929. I hope we see more as good as this.

Many thanks to Faber Children’s for the review copy.


If you like Rita’s Rabbit you might also like: our list of resilience topic books, Ten Little Dogs by Ruth Brown, Alone! by Barry Falls, NO! said Rabbit by Marjoke Henrichs, Little Big Feelings Endorsed by Dr Janet Rose and Scruff by Alice Bowsher.

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About Laurence Inman

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Laurence is an actor, poet, short-story writer, playwright, screenwriter, cartoonist, public speaker, retired lecturer, and former English teacher. IMDb | Linkedin | Reviews by Laurence Inman