The Rabbit Problem by Emily Gravett

rabbit-problemCindy: We have a tradition in our house of trying to remember to say, “Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit,” on the first of each month to have good luck for the month. It is based on a British superstition that has many variations (gotta love Wikipedia). The friend who taught it to me years ago said it must be the first thing you say in the morning. I figure I can use all the good luck I can get, so each month I strive to remember to say it. So, with tomorrow being the first of February, here is your reminder. Here, also, is a fun book about calendars and rabbits and so much more. The Rabbit Problem (Simon & Schuster 2010) features the problem posed by mathematician Fibonacci centuries ago:

If a pair of baby rabbits are enclosed in a fenced-in field and not allowed to escape, how many pairs will there be at the end of each month and at the end of the year?

Lonely Rabbit seeks a friend and when Chalk answers his invitation to be his friend, the cold snowy weather of January sends them snuggling together to keep warm and by March, they are filling out a baby’s first month book and have a pair of baby bunnies. By November the calendar page is completely hidden with a sea of bunnies.  The book design is a treat, from the glued-in extras (like small books whose humor may appeal more to adults than the young children) and the final pop up page with the year’s tally of bunnies. The book also is printed sideways to hang like a calendar, and even features holes drilled through the covers and pages so that the book can be displayed on the wall like a calendar. Young children will get a good visual idea, if not the particulars, about the Fibonacci number series, but they will have plenty of tiny details to take in on multiple reads. This book has a lot going on and much of it is portrayed in the exquisite and fabulously funny bunny illustrations.

And if you forget to say “Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit!” tomorrow, then at least mark your calendar for Thursday when the Chinese Year of the Rabbit gets underway. Everything seems to be coming up…rabbits!

Lynn: I try to remember to say “Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit,” but since I frequently talk before I really wake up or think, I forget often.  What I don’t forget is how much I admire Emily Gravett’s books.  My grandsons are big fans too so they were hopping around the house when this clever book arrived from the publisher.  Gravett makes use of every inch of space from the bunny classroom on the inside front cover where the Rabbit Problem is written on the blackboard to the exploding pop-up that fills the back inside cover.  Month by month the calendar illustrates the multiplying problem with hilarious full-page “calendar” pictures, and sly additions like a bunny baby book, Ministry of Carrots Ration Book and an extensive carrot cookbook.  Some of the details may leap over youngster’s heads but they will get most of what is going on and the quirky illustrations will bring them bounding back.  This is a book to nibble and savor as every page is a treat.  So hop to it!  This book will have you jumping for joy.

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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