Monday, 17 November 2014

The Rabbit and the Shadow by Melanie Rutten (Book Island)

The Rabbit and the Shadow

Written and Illustrated by
Melanie Rutten

Published by Book Island

We love New Zealand and New Zealanders too, and we particularly love Book Island's fantastic and diverse range of children's books all the way from the other side of the world. Books of fabulous originality, stunning in both story and illustration and "The Rabbit and the Shadow" by Melanie Rutten is no exception.

The series of delicately interlocking stories comes in a gorgeously presented hardback book, as we learn about a young rabbit (who has a lot of growing up to do), a soldier, a fatherly stag, a mischievous cat, a book with a yearning for learning and the mysterious shadow who is eventually revealed further into the stories.

Each of the character's stories combine as the characters meet, embarking on a quest to confront their fears by climbing a volcano (which sounds like a very grand, if crazily dangerous mission!)

The stories hold subtle and hidden delights as well as elements that will tug at your heartstrings. Beautifully written moments like finding out that the brave and bullish soldier has a secret, and the melancholy description by the soldier of 'mummy and daddy living in two houses rather than one' which needed a little gentle and thoughtful explanation to Charlotte.

The book speaks of love in the sort of terms that will make you feel a little tearful. You see, the rabbit asks the sort of awkward questions that parents secretly dread. "Will you be here forever? Will we be together forever?" There are moments where you feel like your heart is going to explode as you see the impact on Stag when Rabbit disappears off into the big wide world to fend for himself.

I have a tendency to over-analyse children's books but the bear struck me as the most interesting character. Looking at the book's allegorical characters and how they describe emotions, stages of life and the way we interact with our world and each other, Bear's character is definitely the one worth more than a second glance and I'd really be interested to hear your thoughts on the characters, the stories and the whole book if you'd like to drop a comment in the box below.

It's stunning though, and we're so entranced by this, it's dreamy and surreal at times, allegorical and clever. It's also powerful storytelling that will have children completely wrapped up in its strong and gentle tale. Utterly lovely!

Charlotte's best bit: The soldier's secret reveal which caused a gasp of delight.

Daddy's Favourite bit: A gloriously presented story, beautifully written and extremely subtle and clever in the way it describes its characters. Definitely something for everyone to identify with in here.

(Kindly sent to us for review by Book Island)