Review: Squish Rabbit by Katherine Battersby
Themes don’t get much more universal than friendship. The sheer amount of children’s books based on the topic is staggering. Seriously, you can’t swing a puppet in the children’s section without knocking over a couple stacks of them. It’s a testament to the creative spirit when an author is able to set out down this well-trod path and create something that comes across as fresh. With her first book, Squish Rabbit, that is exactly what Aussie Katherine Battersby has done. An appealing debut.
No time is wasted in setting the scene:
Squish was just a little rabbit.
But being little led to big problems.
Tired of being ignored and feeling a little lonely, Squish decides to make his own friend out of plaid cloth. It doesn’t take long for the limitations of this pretend friendship to become obvious. Upset, the rabbit kicks an apple and a squirrel gives chase – nearly off a cliff. But Squish finds his voice and in doing so, makes a friend.
There’s quite a bit going on for such a seemingly simple story. The isolation of childhood. The fleeting security of imaginary friends. These themes, while formidable, are always presented with the reader in mind. Children will put themselves in Squish’s shoes right from the get-go.
To appreciate this art is to appreciate minimalism. The collage illustrations are clean and bright. Vibrant reds and greens are used to maximum effect atop large expanses of white. Thick black outlines are used to set the characters apart. The use of real paper lends subtle dimension to every spread.
Friendship has been around the block a time or two, but Squish Rabbit shows that the theme still has plenty of life. A fine book to have on hand, be it for individual reading or a thoughtful read-aloud.
Review copy from publisher
Watch the Squish Rabbit book trailer:
(Thanks to Watch. Connect. Read. for the link)
Find this book at your local library with WorldCat.
Filed under: Reviews
About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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