Knopf Books for Young Readers, $15.99, 24 pages
Beautifully illustrated Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit introduces the youngest readers to the changing of the seasons and how animals modify their behavior during these changes. Author Il Sung Na uses subtle suggestion though both gentle text and bright, enchanting illustrations to broach the concepts of migration, hibernation, and adaptation. The crisp, colorful illustrations in combination with Na’s almost poem-like text offer wonderful discussion points for parents and teachers. As children view the flight of the migrating fowl, parents might ask, “Why do the birds fly away during the winter?” As readers’ imaginations are tickled by the playful mice frolicking in their underground den, teachers could ask why mice don’t need to travel to new locations when the seasons change.
The beauty of Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit is that it entertains on many levels. It is a simple tale of a little rabbit’s observations as time passes from winter to spring. It is also a story-springboard to discussing animal behavior, the weather, and the circle of life. All readers will ultimately join Rabbit in rejoicing when the trees begin to bloom and the grasses, ferns, and flowers start to grow and blossom.
Reviewed by Kathryn Franklin