The Rabbit’s Gift

Greenwillow. Oct. 2022. 320p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780063067462.
Gr 3-7–Quincy Rabbit just wants to prove himself and make his family proud. In the magical land of Montpeyroux, some of the hidden warren take care of the Chou (cabbages in which human babies are grown), while others take the dangerous job of delivering almost ripened Chou to human cities. Humans then harvest their little ones and give the Rabbits rare, purple carrots in return. Quincy is worried about the dwindling supply of purple carrots, which the Rabbits desperately need for survival; he and the other rabbits are starving. Quincy leaves in the middle of the night to go find some seeds of his own. He just knows he’ll come back a hero, and everyone will be pleased. Meanwhile, Fleurine, daughter of the human matriarch, wants nothing more than to study botany and avoid her mother’s succession education plans. She desperately seeks a way to grow a Chou of her own so she can have a baby sister who will take on her mother’s focus and leave her in peace. When Quincy appears in Fleurine’s garden and pilfers some purple carrot seeds, Fleurine follows him home, sneaks into the rabbit warren and makes off with a Chou. This sets off a dangerous mission for both parties, in which their worlds collide, and everyone is racing across the countryside to save the baby Chou. Told in alternating viewpoints, this lush and colorful fairy tale is sure to be a delight for middle grade readers. Vitalis explores themes of privilege, responsibility, friendship, honor, and being true to oneself.
VERDICT This is a thought-provoking read that will stay in readers’ heads for years to come. Recommend to fans of Kelly Barnhill’s The Girl Who Drank the Moon.

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