Monday, March 2, 2020

Review - The Rabbits' Rebellion

The Rabbits' Rebellion
by Ariel Dorfman
illustrated by Chris Riddell
Date: 2001
Publisher: Triangle Square
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 64
Format: e-book
Source: library

The story of a mean and narcissistic king, originally written in the 1970s is both uproariously funny and distressingly on point, will be enjoyed by children and their parents.

"Rabbits don't exist."

So decrees the new king, the Wolf of all Wolves, after conquering the rabbits' homeland. He refuses to allow even one small, fluffy tail or long, soft ear into his kingdom. He orders the birds to broadcast this message far and wide. And he summons the old monkey to photograph him in his royal finery, performing his royal deeds. But in his darkroom, the monkey sees something strange developing in the photos. Is that a floppy ear? Whose grinning bunny teeth are those? How could it be?

Ariel Dorfman's first children's book, THE RABBITS" REBELLION, is a remarkable and mischievous allegory of truth and justice triumphing over political chicanery. Set in a magical animal kingdom and illustrated by the great Chris Riddell, this is a story that will have children roaring with laughter and parents raising an eyebrow with recognition.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This is a fairly amusing picture book about a horribly narcissistic king (who also happens to be a wolf) and his goal of world domination. If only those pesky rabbits didn't keep getting in the way!

It reads as fairly allegorical, and I'm sure adult readers could come up with apt comparisons to current leaders without trying too hard. But it's also a simple story about a monkey photographer and his headstrong daughter who refuses to believe the official party line.

The black-and-white illustrations are highly detailed and perfectly capture the characters' expressions. It's easy to see Riddell's skill as a political cartoonist.

While this might not be a favourite of very young children, it's kind of a good cautionary tale for older readers (adults included) about what happens when power is allowed to grow unchecked. But it isn't always the person with the most power who comes out on top; sometimes, it's the little guy, working together with all the other little guys to bring the truth back into the light of day.

Quotable moment:

Premise: 3/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 4/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 3/5

Overall: 3.5 out of 5

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