The great rabbit chase by Freya Blackwood
Scholastic, 2017. ISBN 9781743811641
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Rabbits, Animals, Neighbours. When mum goes shopping for gumboots and comes home with a large furry rabbit, there can be only one name for him. The rabbit is clever at chewing and scratching, but what he does best is escape. One day when he escapes, mum is in the shower, and Norman is at the front door ready to play, but Gumboot's owner has only one thing on her mind: to find her rabbit.
There follows a very funny tale of a journey to seek and find the rabbit and take him back home. We follow the trail as the trio crosses the road, seeing John daydreaming with his stop sign and car owners beeping their horns. As they follow the rabbit, others join their escapade, a man in his business suit, a neighbour on her walking frame, the stop sign man, a woman and her screaming baby in its pram. Down the streets they go, until they come to a park, where they all lie down for a rest, mum still in her towel from the shower.
Children will have great fun looking at the array of people on their road trip, wandering the streets and then the park looking for Gumboot. Freya Blackwood cleverly includes small touches revealing the personalities of the people involved. I love the business man taking his shoes and socks off, and the two older people sitting down for a chat under the tree.
Blackwood's pen, pencil and watercolour illustrations are just wonderful, the cut out perspective of the rabbit's tunnel, and that of the house and the maps on the endpapers, will encourage students to look at the neighbourhood from a different angle. Their journey is circular, with people who have joined the hunt going back to their own places on the way home. This delightful story will be a tremendous read aloud as the children follow the path taken by all participants. A wonderful journey that all readers will enjoy.