The Flat Rabbit
Owlkids Books 9/15/2014
40 pages Age 4+
“What do you do with a flat rabbit? A dog and a rat come across a rabbit. A flat rabbit, lying silently on the road. It all seems rather sad, so they decide to move her. But where to? They can’t just return her to her apartment, completely flattened. What would the neighbors think? The dog and the rat try to figure out what to do. Then the dog gets a brilliant idea. They decide to give the rabbit the send-off she deserves.”
The Flat Rabbit deals with a serious subject most young child, under age 6, are incapable of understanding: the finality of death. The author uses humor in this gentle story of two friends sending off another friend—the flat rabbit—in a respectful manner, honorable and pleasing to the rabbit. They find their friend in the middle of the road and decide it cannot be much fun lying there. The dog and rat decide to help the rabbit move to a better place.
“Do you think she is having a good time? the rat finally asked . . .
“I don’t know . . .” he [the dog] replied slowly. “I don’t know.”
As a social worker, The Flat Rabbit would be a great tool for helping kids process not only death, but also separation. Nearly every page can provoke discussion. The abrupt ending demands discussion. The Flat Rabbit can open up discussions on the mysteries of life, the finality of death, and the use of compassion and respect.
I also love the simple illustrations and the gentle humor.
“Do you know her?” [The rat asked the dog.]
“Well,” said the dog, “I think she’s from number 34. I’ve never talked to her, but I peed on the gate a couple of times, so we’ve definitely met.”
The Flat Rabbit may not be a typical picture book, but it does a great service for children dealing with, or asking about, death. Parents will have a platform for discussion and a gentle way to help their child cope with a difficult subject. The most important aspect, as this social worker sees it, is the respect and compassion for life and death that the author deftly deals with in The Flat Rabbit. The dog, after brainstorming most of the day, comes up with a brilliant plan to help the rabbit. The dog and the rat gently lift the rabbit off the road then spend the rest of the day and night on their plan to honor and care for the rabbit.
An interesting side note: the author lives in the Faroe Islands, an archipelago made up of 18 islands between Iceland and Norway. Flata Kaninin, the original version, was nominated for The Nordic Council Children and Young People’s Literature Prize 2014. Sadly, it did not win.
THE FLAT RABBIT. Text and illustrations copyright © 2011 by Bárður Oskarsson. Translation copyright © 2014 by Marita Thomsen. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Owlkids Books Inc., Berkeley CA and Toronto, CAN.
Learn more about The Flat Rabbit* HERE.
Purchase The Flat Rabbit at Amazon—B&N—Book Depository—Owlkids Books
Meet the author/illustrator, Bárður Oskarsson: short bio
Meet the translator, Marita Thomsen, at her website:
Find other wonderful picture books at the Owlkids Books website: owlkidsbooks.com
*The Flat Rabbit—original title Flata Kaninin—published in 2011 by BFL: www.bfl.fo
Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews
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