Review Blog

May 28 2020

Ribbit, rabbit, robot by Victoria Mackinlay

cover image

Illus. by Sofya Karmazina. Omnibus (Scholastic) 2020. ISBN: 9781743834060.
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Three friends, a rabbit, frog and a robot work in an antique store. When the frog pulls a book from a pile of books, a lamp falls on his head. Rub it, say the robot and the rabbit, and rub it, the frog does. Out of the lamp pops a genie with instructions about what to wish for, warning them not to be mean. Both the rabbit and the robot are quick to use their wishes, but the frog takes his magnifying glass to look closely at the fine print. Rabbit has wished for another rabbit while the robot has been given a robotic dog, but both are dissatisfied and want to grab the lamp for themselves. Mayhem follows as the three battle for the lamp, taking them across the sea in a canoe, over the fields in bicycles, then in tractors, until they ascend in hot air balloons. Each page sees another scramble of the words robot, rabbit and ribbit as the author delightfully plays with the readers. Children will laugh out loud at the variations of these words, wondering what will come next. And the luminous illustrations full of movement and detail will add to their enjoyment.
Finally the trio rockets into space with the lamp, until the frog, still intrigued by the words at the end of the scroll, uses a fishing line to grab the lamp from the robot.
His selflessness is rewarded while the selfishness of the rabbit and the robot see their wishes undone.
This is a wonderful play on words which will have children amused and entertained, wondering about the word variations. The illustrations are meant to be pored over, searching through a myriad of detail as the trio cavorts over water, seas, fields and space, while the fabulous antique shop is full of wonders. The strong message of being unselfish will resonate with the readers as they laugh with the mayhem caused by the greed of the rabbit and robot. Themes: Robots, Rabbits, Frogs, Selfishness, Genie, Wishes.
Fran Knight

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