Julian Gough

Rabbit and Bear: A Bite in the Night

DSC_0014.JPG

The latest in this series sees our lovable forest friends facing Progress with a capital P! As Bear is getting ready for her winter sleep, Rabbit is increasingly worried by things that are changing. The river has moved…trees are disappearing…soon, even Bear is close to being slightly worried. Beaver has been at work and Progress is his middle name- nothing is going to get in his way. But Progress is not good for Rabbit- or Mole-or Vole-or Mouse… Although some of the animals might be better off as a result of the changes made in the name of Progress, can they stand by and see their friends suffer?

DSC_0015.JPG

Told with the usual gentle humour and fabulous illustrations, the ‘Rabbit and Bear’ stories are also wonderful at conveying clear messages and making everyone stop and think. Although change needs to happen and some progress is needed, the cost to the countryside and other people should always be considered. Once Bear’s favourite scratching tree has gone, it cannot be replaced in a hurry- years of nature at work destroyed in an instant. Sometimes, alternatives need to be considered or simply more thought needs to be given to whether ‘Progress’ is really necessary.

DSC_0016.JPG

The fabulous illustrations are every bit as engaging as in the previous Rabbit and Bear stories and Bear’s expressions are just wonderful! This latest addition to the ‘Rabbit and Bear’ series is a delight.

Rabbit and Bear: A Bite in the Night Julian Gough, illustrated by Jim Field

Hodder ISBN: 978-1444938180

You can read our reviews of Rabbit’s Bad Habbit, The Pest in the Nest and Attack of the Snack.

Rabbit and Bear: Attack of the Snack

DSC_0110.JPG

This is the third book about the irascible Rabbit and level-headed Bear. In this story, they meet - or are attacked by!- Owl who crash lands near them. Rabbit is predictably outraged at the arrival of this stranger- particularly when he remembers that some owls eat rabbits!

Keen to find a snack, Bear leaves Rabbit to it- something she later regrets as things quickly get out of hand- but everything works out well in the end.

DSC_0111.JPG

Tolerance and understanding are at the heart of this book. In the middle of all the humour- and this is a very funny book- the story shows the very serious and disturbing issues of how fear and mass hysteria can whip people up to commit unreasonable and unjustified actions. Rabbit becomes increasingly paranoid and his exaggerations increasingly extreme, yet no one but Bear challenges him. As Bear says...

'I don't think you won the argument...I think you just shouted the loudest.'

DSC_0113.JPG

Being able to laugh at Rabbit's wild accusations makes it easier to start discussions about tolerance and acceptance, about challenging stereotypes - and about the fact that we all make mistakes. No one- not even Rabbit- is perfect and we all need to acknowledge when we get things wrong. 

The book is very entertaining with plenty of toilet humour- possibly a bit too much for my liking- but with the usual educational slant! The things I now know about poo! 

The illustrations are a joy as in each of these stories. Warm tones highlight some of the pictures and there are lots of them throughout the book. Another winner!

Rabbit and Bear: The Attack of the Snack

Hodder Children's      ISBN:  978-1444938173

British Books Challenge 3: Rabbit and Bear: The Pest in the Nest

OK- I admit it! I was really worried that the second book about Rabbit and Bear would not live up to my EXTREMELY high expectations having read the first one, Rabbit and Bear: Rabbit's Bad Habits' (shortlisted for the 2016 NSTBA, review here)

DSC_0031.JPG

However, I needn't have worried! This little volume is every bit as delicious as the first!

The illustrations are fabulous, adding to the humour and joy of reading the story. Rabbit continues to be cantankerous, finding fault with all around him. Bear's snoring, Tortoise being there, Woodpecker's tapping- everything makes him angry. It takes the help of his calm and relaxed friend, Bear, to help him stop fighting himself and accept things.

We all have 'those' days- the ones where nothing seems to go right and everything seems at odds. Today would be one of those days for me! And it really helps on those days to remember that if we can't control everything around us, we can control ourselves and our reactions to things.

And this is the conclusion Rabbit comes to ...

'I shall stop thinking of it as a Nasty Noise. I shall think of it instead as a nice, friendly reminder that my friend Bear is nearby.'

And suddenly, the sound, without changing at all, made Rabbit feel all warm and happy.

The story is great for discussing our reactions to things- and although it won't change the world -might help children to recognise themselves in Rabbit and while laughing at his antics, take another look at their own!

Bear and Rabbit: The Pest in the Nest by Julian Gough, illustrated by Jim Field

Hodder Children's      ISBN: 978-1444934267