What's for Dinner? Ten Hungry Rabbits by Anita Lobel
MAMA RABBIT WAS SAD.
"WE HAVE NOTHING TO PUT IN MY SOUP POT FOR DINNER AT ALL," SHE SAID.
"BUT, MAMA," WHINED TEN LITTLE RABBITS, "WE ARE VERY, VERY HUNGRY!"
"THERE IS THE GARDEN," SAID PAPA RABBIT. "YOU'RE SURE TO FIND GOOD THINGS THERE."
Rabbits and gardens go way back in storyland history, but Farmer McGregor has nothing to fear from these little rabbits, who, when push comes to shove, are moved to get hoppin' in their own garden, which is apparently bursting with ripe produce beggin' to be popped into the pot.
In no time the bunnies are back with their buckets brimming. Papa goes into sous chef mode, slicing and dicing, and Mama seasons and stews up some nutritious fast food for the family posthaste.
"YUM!" THE HAPPY RABBITS ARE HUNGRY NO MORE!
The veteran and venerated author-illustrator Anita Lobel's newest, 10 Hungry Rabbits: Counting & Color Concepts (Alfred A. Knopf, 2012) is a delightful twofer, a counting AND color concept book combo, with a nod to the Stone Soup storyline and a clever auxiliary plug for healthy veggies as well.
The ten little rabbits are well individualized, each with his or her own personality and preferences, and each bags a fruit, vegetable, or fungus (mushrooms) color-coordinated with his or her clothing. For example, Rabbit #1 picks one purple cabbage; Rabbit #4 finds four red tomatoes, and Rabbit #6 reaps six orange carrots. Bunny #8, definitely a maverick who marches to a different drummer, even chooses eight big blueberries to add a bit of sweetness to the pot. Numbers from one to ten are also coordinated to match the bright colors of the ingredients, as are even the colorful soup bowls from which the family feasts in the final festive scene. Caldecott Honor winner (for On Market Street) Anita Lobel puts her familiar folk-art style to fine use in this rustic rabbit tale.
"Many hands make light work," and many fruits of the earth make for fine eating. Anita Lobel knows her onions, and her 10 Hungry Rabbits: Counting & Color Concepts is just in time for Easter-bunny-book season as well as planting season for gardening families and schools. Pair this one with Lois Ehlert's evergreen gardening book, Planting a Rainbow, and get those pre-and primary schoolers planting with pleasure.