A Suitcase Named Desire: Hey, Rabbit! by Sergio Ruzzier
"HEY, RABBIT! IS THERE ANYTHING FOR ME IN YOUR SUITCASE?" ASKED CRAB.
"MAYBE A SHELL WITH THE SOUND OF THE SEA?"
It seems everyone wants a wish granted by Rabbit's magic blue suitcase. Cat asks for a ball of yarn to play with, and when Rabbit obliges by opening his valise, a whole room of yarn appears, big balls, small balls, skeins and skeins of yarns in every color of the rainbow--all for Cat's amusement. Dog gets, not just a bone, but a birthday cake made of bones; Crab gets a whole coral reef with abalone, an octopus, bright tropical fish, and, yes, a shell as well. Rat wishes for a piece of cheese and finds a medieval castle town, all made of delicious dairy stuff.
Sergio Ruzzier's wish-fulfillment fantasy, Hey, Rabbit! (Roaring Brook Press, 2010) features a quizzical blue-eyed rabbit with, not a basket of pastel goodies, but a nondescript little suitcase, which he pushes onto page one of this imaginative picture book and which opens into everyone's heart's desire, displayed on beautiful double-page spreads. There is a tropical forest for Toucan, and a soft pillow and bed, spread with a honeybee-sprinkled comforter. for a sleepy Bear.
But what about their benefactor, the long-eared wizard of wishes?
HEY! IS THERE SOMETHING FOR ME IN MY SUITCASE?
Rabbit is not the only master of magic here! The illustrator has a surprise in his bag of tricks, for when Rabbit's suitcase opens one last time, it opens to a full spread of friends, Dog, Crab, Bear, Cat, Toucan, and a well-stuffed cheese-loving Rat--and, just for Rabbit, a delicious radish that he didn't even know he wanted!
Ruzzier's fantasy of desires and of friendship offers engaging illustrations and a mind-opening little tale of wishes granted. As the writer for Kirkus Reviews puts it, "The colors are soft and clear; the line is vivacious and the little anthropomorphized animals are sweet. Their satisfied imaginations fill whole pages, and friendship emanates from every wriggle."(Starred Review)