Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Written by: George Shannon
Illustrated by: Laura Dronzek
Recommended Ages: 3-7
This is a wonderful picture book that shows the beauty of giving in a way that even the youngest of readers will appreciate. Based on an ancient folktale, which possibly originated in China, this story nestles its way into your heart leaving you with a warm feeling after you've closed the book.
The story begins with Rabbit in search of food on a cold and snowy day. He soon finds two turnips, and he rolls them home. As he nibbles away on one, his thoughts turn to his friend Donkey, and he wonders if she has enough to eat. So he pushes the turnip up the hill to Donkey's house and leaves it by the front door. As he leaves, his tracks are covered up by the falling snow. When donkey discovers the turnip, she realizes that she has enough to eat, but perhaps Goat doesn't, and she decides to bring the turnip to him. The story goes on like this, with each animal gifting the turnip to another animal friend. The turnip is eventually returned-full circle-to Rabbit, who knows exactly what to do with it. The last picture shows Rabbit, Donkey, Goat and Deer sharing the turnip.
The illustrations by Dronzek are simple and engaging. There's just enough detail so that even the youngest reader will be drawn to the page. One interesting thing she did is draw the Chinese symbol for each animal when they are first introduced.
But it's Shannon's telling of the story which is so pitch perfect. The language is refreshingly simple, making it a great read aloud. I can see that this will be one of those books that children will want to hear over and over and over again.
BookNosher Tidbit: In 2008, Rabbit's Gift was the recipient of the Washington State Book Award for Children.