4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Montgomery Rabbit, written by Sandy Little and illustrated by David Wenzel, is a beginner’s chapter book, appropriate for early-independent readers. Montgomery is a house rabbit living in an isolated yard where he wants for nothing because his human always provides him with the most delicious raspberries. After noticing another rabbit through a hole in his fence, Montgomery finds himself outside of his comfort zone and on an adventure with his new friend, Bentley. Though Montgomery and Bentley are both rabbits, their appearances are very different and their knowledge and skills differ as well. Since Bentley has never tasted a delicious raspberry, the two set off to find the raspberry patch. Along the way, the two encounter various other animals, like a one-eyed goat, a duck and a horse, and they face perilous challenges, like a hungry hawk, a dangerous snake, and a large pond they must swim across.
With children’s books, the messages and lessons the author touts can make or break the story. Though nothing new, Montgomery Rabbit seeks to teach readers about differences, overcoming fears and the unknown, unlikely friendships, personal growth and change. The use of multiple lessons is suitable to the older audience that this book appeals to. The author does a great job of including these messages subtly within the narrative by creating thought provoking material and avoiding any blatant declarations which may feel obvious to a newly independent reader.
The illustrations in this book are absolutely beautiful. The colors are vibrant, yet realistic, and the depiction of the animals is lifelike and emotive. The attention to detail is just as noticeable in the scenery and background of the images; these illustrations are truly comprehensive and work to significantly enhance the story. The realism found in the illustrations will appeal to audiences both young and old. Newly independent readers will appreciate the more mature, naturalistic illustrations and will find themselves spending time studying each picture so as not to miss any of the fine details.
The vocabulary in this book is appropriate for the intended audience as well. The inclusion of some more advanced words like ‘warren’ (a network of interconnecting rabbit burrows) and ‘stocky’ as a descriptor, will pique the curiosity of a young mind, and spark discussion amongst child and adult. The addition of sensory detail within the narrative helps to bring the illustrations to life both in the reader’s mind and on the page. The ending is satisfying, and the growth of the main characters is clear, as it should be in any successful children’s book. The expert combination of language, illustrations and plotting makes for a completely immersive story. My only irritation with the book, though incredibly minor, is the overuse of ellipses within the dialogue.
Montgomery Rabbit checks all the boxes for a successful early reader. The illustrations, language, pacing and lessons in this book are all appropriate for the intended audience and well executed. I found this story immensely enjoyable and the pictures incredibly engaging. Montgomery Rabbit fully deserves 4 out of 4 stars. This book will make a great addition to the bookshelves of young children transitioning to independent reading.
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon
Like MarisaRose's review? Post a comment saying so!