3 out of 4 stars
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Pierre Rabbit: I Don’t Want to Be a Rabbit Anymore is a children’s book by author A.C. Murphy. It is also the first book in the Talking Animal Collection series. As the tale begins, a multitude of well-dressed bunnies are diligently making preparations for their annual Easter festival, and most of the festivities center around the Rabbit King Pageant. While most of the participants love the tradition, one little rabbit does not. His name is Pierre and he’d rather be one of Santa’s helpers. His mother tells him he is too small and too warm-natured to survive such a taxing role in such a frigid environment, but he’s determined to help Santa and his reindeer deliver Christmas presents. Against his mother’s advice, he ties up his belongings in a polka-dot handkerchief and starts walking to the North Pole. As he embarks upon his journey, Pierre faces many dangerous challenges and hurdles. Will he succeed in finally fulfilling his dream, or will the snow, icicles, and lack of edible grass make him realize his plan is not altogether feasible?
This story was spread over 24 pages, and half of those pages featured full-page illustrations. Throughout the book, all of the rabbits wore colorful clothes and hopped upright on two legs. All illustrations were provided by Christian Faith Publishing, and they did a great job of visually depicting the written passages. Each page of bordered text featured a line of decorative scrollwork that gave the words a whimsical quality, and while I did encounter several small grammatical errors throughout the story, those were the only aspects of this book I disliked.
I enjoyed seeing the evolution of Pierre’s emotional maturity as this tale progressed. He had to determine whether to follow his head or follow his heart, and the choice wasn’t always easy to make. He genuinely had to learn some things the hard way, and he had to gain the ability to recognize which aspects of his life were actually reassuring blessings in disguise. Sometimes, we don’t truly realize what we’ve got until it’s gone, and we may take some things for granted that are, in fact, irreplaceable. The book also concludes with a brief list of discussion questions that parents or teachers can use to gain insightful feedback from the reader.
I think kids would enjoy the presence of adorably descriptive phrases, such as “cute little cottontails,” and they might giggle at the fact that the red-nosed reindeer in this book is named Randolph. I will say that Santa Claus was never actually pictured in the story, but that’s simply because the main character’s ultimate decision took him on a detour down a different path. I think diligent readers would potentially benefit a great deal from the embedded lessons of gratitude and friendship in this book, but all little readers would probably love the choice of illustrations.
Due simply to the presence of errors, I award this unique storybook a rating of 3 out of 4 stars. I feel that this book would be most appropriate for children between four and seven years of age. I would recommend it to any young reader who loves animal adventure books or holiday-themed short stories. Tales like this can help kids understand why the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence.
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