Little Rabbit is bored and Mama Rabbit is busy. Despite living in a bustling burrow, with her family, in a thriving meadow community, Little Rabbit struggles to know what to do. Luckily, Big Grandfather Rabbit needs a willing assistant to help him with his chores and Little Rabbit, desperate for companionship and something to do, agrees to spend the day with him.
Grandfather Rabbit’s chores involve helping and supporting neighbours in the meadow and Little Rabbit quickly learns how kind and generous her grandfather is with his time. The two rabbits not only help dig Mole from his burrow, they make tea for poorly Granny Hedgehog, help a new family of dormice to move into their new home and collect food for Mother Squirrel’s family.
Little Rabbit’s day with Grandfather has taught her so much that her thoughts are no longer centred on her own needs, but on the needs of their friends in the Meadow. She worries about them all night and when she wakes in the morning to a list of chores from Grandpa, she is eager to help. A second day of helping friends confirms to Little Rabbit how much fun she can have serving others. She follows Grandfather Rabbit’s example of kindness, listening and making sure no one in the community is forgotten. When tasks appear insurmountable, Little Rabbit’s enthusiasm rallies all the neighbours to help.
When the chores are done, Little Rabbit & her grandfather are able to reflect on their time together. Little Rabbit’s big surprise is the joy she feels through spreading kindness to others. Grandfather is proud of all his little granddaughter has learned from him. They share carroty cuddles, satisfied with moments well spent looking after others.
Beautifully written, Swapna Haddow has a gentle way of effortlessly describing both settings and character feelings so that they come alive for the reader. Allison Friend’s gorgeous full colour illustrations are the perfect pairing for this heartwarming tale. A charming story with many valuable messages; this story not only promotes the value of relationships with grandparents and the wisdom that can be imparted from one generation to another, but the impact of making sure the needs of the most vulnerable people in communities are not overlooked. Hardback editions of this story have the look and feel of traditional classics, such as Alison Uttley’s Little Grey Rabbit series. It makes a wonderful stepping stone from picture books to independent reading.
This book would be most suitable for a KS1 audience. Author Swapna Haddow’s descriptions within the book would make a great template for writing. Children could describe their own meadow where Little Rabbit could help another animal in need, writing about what they can hear, smell, feel and see. A class might also enjoy writing thank you letters from the perspective of each character to Little Rabbit and her grandfather. This book would also serve as great inspiration for young readers to look around the school or wider community and think about ways they could be kind and help others in need. It is the perfect text to use in PHSE as inspiration for a discussion about empathy and about how helping others makes us feel happy.
Little Rabbit’s Big Surprise Swapna Haddow, illustrated by Alison Friend
Stripes Publishing ISBN: 9781788950299