Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Rabbit Listened Review

When Taylor's blocks are knocked over, everyone has advice about what they* should do. Chicken thinks Taylor should talk about it. Bear thinks they should get angry and shout. Snake thinks they should knock over someone else's blocks. But only bunny sits next to Taylor in silence and listens when they feel ready to talk. Eventually Taylor feels better and they make plans for a new, even bigger, structure.

This sweet story has a lot of emotional wisdom. Taylor rejects everyone who tells them how they should feel. Only rabbit is willing to sit quietly and listen to Taylor actually process their feelings. This book is a great way to start a conversation with a child about how to work through big emotions. It's also great for teaching children how they can be good friends to others. I love that Taylor's gender is ambiguous and never explicitly stated. The illustrations make great use of white space to show Taylor's feelings of isolation. The use of a purple background at the beginning and end show that Taylor has recaptured their excitement about building with blocks.

*I use they/them pronouns for Taylor in this review rather than assigning a gender to the character.

Drawn Together Review

A young boy is less than excited to spend time with his grandpa. They don't eat the same food. They don't watch the same shows. They don't even speak the same language! The boy soon grows bored and takes out some paper and markers to entertain himself. When his grandpa sees, he excitedly takes out his ink pot and brush. They have finally found a common language! Together, they go on an adventure combining their styles.

The way Santat combines the grandson and grandfather's styles is simply breath-taking. The format goes from comic panels at the beginning to show time passing to full-color spreads in a more traditional picture book layout. I love the way the characters choose to draw themselves and that they exchange their preferred drawing implement at the end. The end papers bring it all together with the front displaying the grandson's style and the back the grandfather's. A sweet, inter-generational tale.