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The Rabbit and the Shadow by Melanie Rutten
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The Rabbit and the Shadow

by Melanie Rutten

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Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is a very sweet book with lovely illustrations. The style of the artwork is a pleasant reminder of many of the picture books I loved when I was a child myself back in the 1950s. The story has some fine lessons on growing up and facing fears, as well as something interesting to say about families and forming relationships. I think it's definitely a book for a child to share with an adult who can bring out the themes and explain things along the way. But I'm betting the adult will enjoy it, too. ( )
  jlshall | Apr 29, 2018 |
The Rabbit and the Shadow is, in part, a coming of age story. An orphaned baby bunny is adopted by a Stag, who raised him with love. One day the Rabbit fell in a deep hole. An angry soldier happened by and pulled Rabbit up. Together they travel, til they meet a Cat, who has lost a ball. They help Cat, and he joins the troop. The group decides that they are going to be brave and travel to the volcano. Along the way, Rabbit finds an Egg, that he brings with him, taking care of it. All the while, a mysterious Shadow follows them. What does the Shadow want? And can the group prove to themselves they each are brave? And lastly, will they discover what family truly means?

This is a cute coming of age story, with themes of facing your fears, and what defines family. Much of the story is Rabbit's, but there are a few times when it shifts back to Stag, and you see how sad he is, worrying over his adopted child though he knows there are things Rabbit must learn on his own. Most of my cubs really enjoyed it. The art style wasn't my personal favourite, but I thought the lessons were great ones.

***Many thanks to Netgalley and Eerdman’s Publishing for providing an egalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. ( )
  PardaMustang | Mar 16, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
When I entered my name to win a copy of The Rabbit and the Shadow by Mélanie Rutten, I did so because even on my laptop screen, I could tell that the illustrations are exquisite.

The pen and watercolor illustrations are in gentle hues that fit the story’s outdoor setting. Most are small vignettes that expertly accompany the nearby text. Rabbit is the story’s main character, but his life becomes entwined with those of the Soldier, the Cat, the Book, a Shadow, and the Stag, Rabbit’s caregiver. When the Soldier forcibly takes Rabbit from his hiding hole, a small vignette manages to encapsulate the vastness of the unknown world, the fierceness of the Soldier and the apprehension of the Rabbit.

The familiar valley lies behind them, and a red sky ahead hints at a dangerous future as the Soldier points his sword toward the future with the Rabbit in his grasp,

“And he dragged the Rabbit off, shouting: ‘On our own! On our own!’ “

The Rabbit and the Shadow is a lengthy, thoughtful book that is best suited for older children. Although the Soldier has abducted the Rabbit, the Soldier bears him no ill will. The Soldier is merely angry, and the reader will find that the Soldier harbors a secret. The Cat suffers from a recurring dream that will not resolve; the Book searches for knowledge. The Stag searches for his Rabbit. The Shadow searches for nothing, and is ironically enlightening, as Rutten explores the weighty issues of anger, responsibility, separation, and growing up.

Artfully placed in the center of a beautiful yellow-hued palette, are the following words, surrounded by a dreamlike border illustrating the characters’ thoughts

“‘What do you think about
to feel less afraid?’
asked the Rabbit.
‘Nice things from the past,’
replied the Soldier,
‘like eating rice pudding cake
when I was little.’

‘You’re still little!’ said the Cat. ‘Me, I think
about nice things to come.’
‘Like when you’ll have a mustache?’
teased the Soldier.

The Cat thought about his dream.
They all though for a moment,
about their dreams. “

I don’t know if The Rabbit and the Shadow is typical or exemplary in French children’s literature. Here in the United States, it is strikingly attractive, thoughtful, and distinctive.

https://shelf-employed.blogspot.com ( )
  shelf-employed | Mar 3, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The Rabbit and the Shadow
By: Melanie Rutten

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

This book was originally published in France in 2013. An English translation was released in 2014 and this new edition in 2018.

Plot
This is really a beautiful little book about how facing our fears helps us grow up. I think too it is a story about how we find our families in this world.

Illustrations
The illustrations in this book are done by the author in watercolors. They are deep hues of blues, reds, greens, and browns that blend with every shade and add a richness to the world she has created. Some of the scenes are just soaked with color and some of the pages are delicately swirled. All of the pages tell a story all of their own, even without words. I especially loved the page where the Stag is telling Rabbit the story about the Great Bear always watching over her Little One. The story is great and speaks to mythology but the pictures just create the story itself. I read that the author spent time in other countries and you can see this influence in the world she has created on the page. Just take a look at the landscape that the characters transverse.

I especially loved how the author/illustrator portrayed the “Shadow”. At first, we see the Shadow as a black outline in the woods or lurking in the background. As the story continues, the Shadow is revealed to be the Great Bear. Yes, that Great Bear, the one who watches over her children, always. There is a beautiful scene of this Mother Bear (after she is revealed as the Shadow) dancing that is full of movement and tenderness. Our travelers have faced their fears and can now embrace the Shadow (the unknown?) with love and a sense of family.

Conclusion:
Really, this is just a magnificent little book that you will love. The story is short but I think I fell in love with all of these characters. ( )
1 vote pammycats | Mar 3, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Unique and amazing. Surreal and heartwarming. This is a story about family love and could easily be about adoption, but also single-parent families. It isn't explained why a rabbit is being raised by a stag, but there is also a young "soldier" who is being raised in two houses (the soldier's mother's house and the soldier's father's house). Mélanie Rutten's illustrations are beautiful and intriguing (Mélanie also is the author). I think they are watercolors.

I would compare it to the Mouse books by Arnold Lobel (or even the Max and Sally books by Miloš Macourek and Adolf Born), but this is deeper than their uniqueness. At first this feels like separate stories, but they are all deeply connected into one complete narrative. I read this aloud to my young ones, and I recommend pre-reading (or skimming as you read) it so you know for sure who is talking (there's one part where it really isn't clear, but it doesn't matter because it is what they are all thinking). The book was originally in French and published in 2013. This version was translated by Sarah Ardizzone, and it is poetic and endearing. She did a great job.

I received this book free for an honest review from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers giveaway, and I am HONORED to have read it. Eerdmans Books have released a lot of great new-to-the-USA books and I am very happy about it. ( )
1 vote antmusic | Mar 3, 2018 |
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"Three strangers meet in the forest and decide to hike to the top of a volcano together. Along the way, they help each other confront their fears and insecurities"--

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