The Rabbit Listened
by Cori Doerrfeld
Dial Books for Young Readers, 2018
This is a book I wished I had written; it shares with kids and parents how listening goes a long ways in allowing another to be themselves. In our busy world where we quickly solve the problem and move on to the next, we forget to slow down and listen, allowing the person to resolve the situation in their own way.
The story opens with Taylor deciding to build something new and great with his blocks, and he does. But then birds fly by and crash down his magnificent structure. Taylor is sad. First chicken comes by and consoles Taylor, suggesting he needs to talk it out, but Taylor doesn’t want to talk. Then bear comes by and suggests Taylor let out his anger, but Taylor doesn’t feel like shouting. Other animals come by suggesting other things be done, but Taylor didn’t want to do their suggestions and remained alone when they all left. Until a rabbit showed up. A rabbit who listened to Taylor, instead of telling Taylor what he should do. And indeed, once someone listened and Taylor felt heard, he ran through, on his own, many of the things suggested. Someone needed to listen.
The simple artwork showing Taylor, each animal, and his blocks emphasize the emotions Taylor feels.
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by Jon Arno Lawson, illustrated by Sydney Smith
Groundwood Books, 2015
This wordless story tells a poignant story of a young girl who picks flowers growing from sidewalk cracks when on a walk with her father in the city. While the father is distracted with his own thoughts, she plucks flowers from each and every nook and cranny where there happens to be a flower. With an armful of flowers, she begins to gift animals and people small bouquets of flowers to bring joy and cheer to their day. Lose pen and ink sketches and spots of bright colors highlight the girl and the flowers she gathers. Its rich visual details illustrate many side stories a youngster can point out and talk about.
I usually don’t review wordless stories, but this one had a subtle fascination and several surprises that held my interest all the way through. This book leaves a lot of room for the child to create their own stories.
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by Leo Lionni
Alfred A. Knopf, 1967
Caldecott Honor Book
This book is about the quiet person who studies the environment around him/her and shares it when the time is right. It’s my personal favorite of Leo Lionni’s books.
The story is about a family of five mice who work hard all year to survive the long winter. Frederick seemingly does nothing to help, and when asked, he says he is gathering sun rays, colors, and words to share during the cold winter months. Winter comes and when food runs out, the mice ask Frederick for help and Frederick reminds them of the warm, colorful days and entertains his fellow mice. His fellow mice accept and benefit from his efforts. This is his contribution to their survival during the bleakest of winter.
This story speaks to the quiet part of a child, a part often overlooked by our American culture.
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Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present
by Charlotte Zolotow, illustrated by Maurice Sendak
A classic story of a young girl who wants to get the perfect gift for her mother, but doesn’t know what to get her.
She meets Mr. Rabbit and they quietly walk through the woods discussing what would make a perfect gift. They discuss colors and items that are those colors and how they would appeal to her mother. A quiet, lovely story that addresses a small child’s major concern. I sometimes read this book when I need a soothing read, it’s so gentle and loving.
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