Fiction + Science in this Friendship Story | *Contains Spoilers*


When Bear awakes to see that a thief stole all of her food, she looks on the bright side: she has always wanted to build a snowman. With help from and a demonstration by Rabbit, Bear learns that gravity will make it easier to build the snowman and that rolling snow can cause an avalanche. When Bear says she's hungry, Rabbit gives her an old, rotting carrot. It's inedible, so Bear uses it for a nose!

After enjoying a meal of Bear's stolen food, Rabbit has the energy to make his own, bigger, better snowman. Oh, no! Wolf is coming for Rabbit. With her knowledge of gravity - and a great pitching paw - Bear is able to save Rabbit.  But why? Rabbit doesn't understand how Bear can be so nice when he was so mean. Feeling guilty, Rabbit brings back all of Bear's food and a friendship begins.

Parent Perspective:

The simple color scheme and use of illustrations to help move the story along are excellent tools for this audience. The author distributes text well across the pages, too. That said, I did not like this book. Admittedly, I'm an adult and see it differently than a 9-year-old; but I wouldn't select this book for my child. Rabbit a sarcastic, I’m-better-than-you know-it-all. Readers will like being smart enough to figure out that Rabbit is the thief before Bear does.

While I appreciated that the fantasy story incorporated science, Rabbit's delivery leaves something to be desired. Similarly, how is Rabbit's scat eating habit "bad"? It is a biological fact. In reality, the bad habits (plural) are never really identified - which for this audience is important. Ultimately, the "happy" ending did not make up for Rabbit's poor behavior, habit or not.

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Lots of open space and a simple color scheme will entice readers to enjoy this story of a budding friendship. 

Content Awareness Factors:

Rabbit explains the biological process of coprophagy, i.e., why he eats his own poop. It is factual, and presented that way, but the detailed description of the concept could bother some people.

Type of Book:
This is the first title in an illustrated chapter series about an "odd couple" pair of friends.
Educational Themes:

Take advantage of your child's curiosity to encourage additional learning. Make it a partner project and do the research together.

  • The first thing kids are going to want to know more about is if it is true that rabbits eat their poop. Yes, it is true.
  • They might also want to know whether a rabbit really hops at 40 MPH. That's true, too.

Beyond the science, there are several other themes to draw from the book. How would your child describe Bear's character? Rabbit? With whom would they want to be friends? Why/Why not?

The last page of the book is a tease for the next title, A Pest in the Nest. Ask your child what they think that story is about. Who's nest? What will the new character be? Will Rabbit and Bear work together? Then find the book to see if they are right.

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
9 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
6 and Up
Purchase Recommendation:
Borrow. Readers who like a little "gross" in their stories are likely to enjoy this a bit more.

Title Rabbit's Bad Habits

Rabbit and Bear, Book 1

Author Julian Gough
Publisher Silver Dolphin © 2018
Illustrators Jim Field
ISBN 9781684125883
Material Hard Cover
Cost $9.99
Genres Animal Character, Humor

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