They say never to work with children and animals. Having broken the first rule, I thought what the heck and smashed the second! At last ...


Tuesday, January 19, 2016 BookBairn 4 Comments

They say never to work with children and animals. Having broken the first rule, I thought what the heck and smashed the second!

At last weekend's Bookbug session at the library, we were introduced to Rabbit in Jo Empson's 'Rabbityness'. I couldn't help but be captivated! The book features an elegant and majestic black rabbit resembling our very own BookBunny, Jenson! I immediately snatched up the book and we brought it home to read to him at the first available opportunity.

So BookBairn and I, today, donned our winter weather wear and took the story out to read to BookBunny. BookBairn and BookBunny are relatively new acquaintances, given until recently she has been too little to guarantee that the meeting would go well and no fingers would be nibbled (hers) or ears pulled (his). But gosh, does she love this wee dude! There were giggles galore at his hopping around, gentle tapping (on her part) and interested sniffing/feet licking (on his part). I was glad it was that way around, quite frankly!
In 'Rabbityness', Rabbit enjoys doing many similar rabbity things as our bunny: jumping, hopping, twirling his whiskers, cleaning behind his ears, burrowing and sleeping. (This fails to mention eating which is without a doubt, our bunny's favourite pastime!) These pages are beautifully illustrated with a simple black rabbit merrily enjoying the grass and dandelions. Rabbit, however, also partakes in some rather unrabbity hobbies: painting and making music. This is where the book really comes alive! The pages are splattered with vibrant magenta, turquoise and green and scattered with musical notes. They are a visual marvel! Rabbit's creative pursuits bring much colour and life to his friends in the woods as they celebrate his individuality and originality!

This book also shares a significant and touching message. One day, out of the blue, Rabbit is gone. His burrow is empty. (Shocking for a children's book, but then I guess we are always shocked to lose a loved one). He has left his legacy of art supplies and musical instruments for the next generation of rabbits to discover their own unrabbity talents. A poignant message. The message that we all should follow our own path of unrabbityness to seek out our own brand of happiness and therefore leave a legacy of happiness it one that is put simply enough that it will resonant across generations.

I know this may sound rather depressing, but it is actually a very touching and lovely story. Perhaps the vibrancy of the illustrations help to lift the story, or perhaps it is the delicacy with which the message is dealt. Whatever the mix, Jo Empson has found the perfect balance.

BookBairn adored the illustrations and when we read the story whist BookBunny was timidly peering out from his hutch she recognised that he resembled the character (however, let's hope it is a long time before he disappears down the rabbit hole) and she continually tapped at the Rabbit picture. She also enjoyed the endpapers which feature countless black bunnies hopping over green fields. Once coaxed out of his hutch, with the help of an apple, she certainly enjoyed sharing this story with him!

*Apologies to fellow library-goers, BookBunny may have had a small nibble of some of the pages!

Love Mummy, BookBairn and BookBunny xx


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Gma! Have a fun holiday and bring me back some books please! x

  2. Sounds like a similar ending to Watership Down which BookBairn's Mummy loved - over and over and over again. "I can see the whole world". Nice to see BookBairn and BookBunny getting on so well. GMaBookBairn is going to have fun searching out a book or two to bring home for BookBairn from her hol.