Because of the Rabbit

by Cynthia Lord

Emma and her game-warden dad rescue a domestic rabbit that escaped from someone’s... read more

Emma and her game-warden dad rescue a domestic rabbit that escaped from someone’s home the day before she begins fifth grade. The rabbit, which Emma convinces her parents to let her foster until the owner’s found, is a bright spot in the start to the school year. Previously homeschooled, Emma’s worries about making friends aren’t helped when she’s assigned to a table with Iris and Leah, who clearly know each other well. They show little interest in Emma, and Jack, who has autism. On their first group project, Iris and Leah orchestrate a division of labor that leaves Emma and Jack on their own. Emma, who is falling in love with the rabbit—she names him Monsieur Lapin in honor of the rabbit in the stories her French Canadian grandparents used to tell her—learns that Jack loves reading about animals, but is terrified of them in person. As the two work together after school on the project, Jack slowly bonds with Monsieur Lapin while Emma and Jack become friends. Emma, white, is mature for her age, but not unbelievably so in a relatively short novel revealing compelling social situations. The chapter headings all have brief facts about domestic rabbits that also often subtly reflect the human characters’ behavior. (Ages 8–11)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2020

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