S. J. Tucker and Trudy Herring’s Rabbit’s Song

UnknownChildren’s books like Rabbit’s Song often have reviews that are much longer than the text within them. And this review shall be so. We haven’t reviewed a lot of books of this nature here, but ofhg the ones we have reviewed A Circle of Cats written by Charles de Lint and abundantly illustrated by Charles Vess, The Sea King by Jane Yolen and Shulamith Oppenheim with illustration by Stefan Czernecki, and the more adult fare of The Book of Ballads written by Charles all demonstrated nicely how good text is made even better with the proper illustration.

That Tucker is a good writer is beyond doubt if you’ve heard any of her songs, either live  or in recorded form. She even provided a soundtrack of sorts to the first volume of Catherynne Valente’s Orphan’s Tale. After all, the best songs are stories with music! And it won’t surprise you that she has turned Rabbit’s Song into, errr, a song.

So what’s it about? If you’ve read books like Terri Windling’s The Wood Wife or Charles de Lint’s Medicine Road, you’ll recognize the use of First Folk animal archetypes here. The story is of course told more simply here than it is in those books but suits the intended audience.

The story here is that Trickster comes seeking a being who can teach Man. Trickster searches among all the animals for a teacher of man. One by one, he finds Bear, Cat, Dog, Tiger and Wolf each of whom he finds unsatisfactory for one reason or another. Trickster at long last settles on the unassuming Rabbit, along with his companions, Coyote, Raven and Crow, as the selected beasts to teach Man.

Tucker has updated the tale for the present time by including such cultural artifacts as baseball. It’s a quick read but then the age group it’s aimed will, if he or she likes it, undoubtedly wants to here it read to them over and over again.

The soft pastels in bold primary colors by illustrator W. Lyon Martin do a nice of complementing Tucker’s text. All in all it’s one of the nicer done illustrated children’s books that I’ve read.

(Magical Child Books, 2009)

Cat Eldridge

I'm the publisher of Green Man Review. I do the Birthdays and Media Anniversary write-ups for Mike Glyer’s file770.com, the foremost SFF fandom site.

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