Review Blog

Jul 17 2019

Rabbit's hop by Alex Rance

cover image

Illus. by Shane McG. Allen and Unwin, 2019. ISBN: 9781760524449.
(Age: 3-8) Recommended. Themes: Friendship, Persistence, Self-Belief. This is AFL player Alex Rance's second book and it features a couple of the characters from his first, Tiger's Roar. Evidently inspired by being a team sportsman, both of his books are about being a good friend, working hard and having fun. Jack Rabbit is the best hopper on Rabbit Island. He is also the best carrot chomper and the almost best zigzagger. All the little rabbits look up to him and he is a perfect role-model: 'If you work hard, be kind, and enjoy yourselves, you will do great things'. Jack loved his life on Rabbit Island but he feels ready for a new challenge. One day a message in a bottle floats over to him. It's his cousin Roo inviting him to come over to Big Island for a new adventure. It won't be easy to get there but with the encouragement of his friend Zigga and remembering his own advice to the little rabbits he decides to go for it. He zig zags across the icebergs and jumps over the waves. He stops to help a whale caught in a fishing net and in return the whale gives him a lift to Big Island. As they get closer Jack begins to worry, 'What if I don't like Big Island? . . . What if I'm not good enough?', but once he arrives, he finds Tiger and becomes excited about the adventure ahead of him. This is wonderfully written and parents and teachers will love the healthy social and emotional messages it contains. I particularly love the repeated mantra (work hard, be kind, and enjoy yourself) and the use of the word philosophy. It is so great for children to know that they have a choice in how they see the world and the guidelines they choose to follow in living their life and interacting with others. It reminds little ones that being good at something is great but being kind, working hard and having fun is much more important. Jack Rabbit is a great role-model; he is talented but he isn't conceited or boastful. He worries and has self-doubt just like everyone, he supports his friends and he is kind to all those around him. The illustrations are bright, crisp and spot on. This is perfect for fans of Tiger's Roar, little sportspeople and all children who aspire to new adventures.
Nicole Nelson

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