Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Lion vs. Rabbit by Alex Latimer

Lion vs. Rabbit by Alex Latimer

Rating: 5 stars

I like this book.

My kids looooooove this book.

I've read it to them a dozen times already this week.  They are hooked from the very first page--on which sit Lion and Rabbit's "cards" (think baseball cards, with stats and figures, showing their speed, weight, height, and how mean and smart they are).

They just LOVE that Rabbit outsmarts Lion.  The big, mean, bully of a Lion.  Who doesn't love little-guy-outwits-the-big-guy stories? (Well, big guys probably don't.  But my house is full of little guys so…)

Lion is a mean bully.  Do you know what he does?  In a single afternoon, he gives Buffalo a wedgie, sticks a silly note on Zebra's back ("I am a horse"), and he steals Hyena's lunch monkey. (Much to my kids' delight, I say "money" Every. Single. Time.)

Finally, the animals get tired of all the bullying.  But none are brave enough to stand up to Lion.  So they advertise for the position in the Help-Wanted section.  The reward is 100 bucks.  Mostly gazelle.

The animals have some funny excuses...
(C'mon…these puns!  Such wit!  You're chuckling, right?!)

Three animals come to face off with Lion.  Three animals go back where they come from, without the reward.  The bullied animals are disappointed.  Will anyone be able to help?

Enter Rabbit.  Lion scoffs at his size, so he lets Rabbit choose the contest. In four separate contests, Rabbit comes up on top.  Lion comes up with excuses.  So Rabbit lets Lion choose the last contest--racing to the top of the mountain.  Lion cheats a little, giving himself a head start, but…it doesn't matter.  Rabbit seems to be ahead of Lion at every turn, even when Lion feels like he just passes Rabbit.

And then, Rabbit makes it to the top!  Yards before Lion!  Ta-da!  When Lion finally reaches the top, huffing and puffing, fully exhausted from the climb, he admits defeat.  "You win. I'll stop bullying the animals."

And Lion was nice after that.

As the animals help Rabbit board the ship on which he arrived, sending the 100 bucks with him, they see a bunch of ears pop up.  That's when they realize that Rabbit had a little help.

And that's why my kids love it so--we read it again and again, looking for more than one set of rabbit ears on each page, seeking to see the help that Lion did not see.

Once again, a truism of picture books: Kids love to see what one (or more!) characters in the book cannot see.  Alex Latimer knew this.  He produced one awesome book that I will surely and happily read a dozen more times before we return it to the library.

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