Now you are probably wondering what on earth this title means?! And unless you know Jo Empson‘s work, the title of this post will indeed remain obscure. Empson’s illustrations are visually stunning and the cover was certainly what appealed to my son when his eye caught Rabbityness at the library.
Rabbityness is the story of a very special rabbit who likes doing rabbity things such as hopping and burrowing.
But unlike other rabbits, he also likes doing unrabbity things like painting and making music. And this is what makes him truly special. So special in fact that he fills the woods with colour and music, and makes all the other rabbits catch his happiness.
But one day, rabbit disappears and the woods become quiet and grey, that is until the other rabbits find in the deep dark hole that he has left, a pile of things to inspire them to do unrabbity things too.
By remembering him, and by using the instruments and tools he has left, the rabbits fill the woods with colour and music, and feel happy again.
Now, expect questions when you will be reading this book as the rabbit’s sudden and unexplained disappearance was puzzling to both my children. But I found it an interesting blank or void. You may want to discuss loss and pain, or some less abstract possible scenarios, this is your choice, and I definitely appreciate the freedom this book gives you in terms of where you want to take it.
Because the end is colorful and full of joy, younger readers may even forget about the grey and somewhat scary episode in the middle of the story. But whatever you make of the plot, this is an explosion of colour, a great incentive to take your painting kit and (or) your favourite music outside and to enjoy it all together. Come on, you know cleaning up won’t be as bad if the painting is done outside! And if messiness is not your kind of thing, why not improvise a disco in the garden or the park? Happiness and joy do not need to be time or material intensive!