The Rabbits

The Rabbits

Book - 2003
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The rabbits offers a rich and immensely valuable perspective on the effect of man on his environment. Visually loaded and told with a passion for truth and understanding. The Rabbits aims to promote cultural awareness and a sense of caring for the natural world.
Publisher: [Vancouver] : Simply Read Books, c2003.
ISBN: 9780968876886
Characteristics: 1 v. (unpaged) :,col. ill. ;,32 cm.
Additional Contributors: Tan, Shaun


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Dec 24, 2009

The Rabbits is a picture book, but it is a beautiful and sophisticated picture book, the kind that can be read and reread from age eight to eighty. The story begins when a ship full of white rabbits arrives on a faraway shore with black muskets and other strange, wondrous technologies. The rabbits come to take rather than give, and to the marsupial-like inhabitants who have lived for generations in harmony with nature, the rabbits are terrifying indeed as they chop down trees, construct factories, and alter the land to suit their own purposes. Out of fear and anger, especially after their children are taken, the marsupials rise in rebellion against the rabbits, but by then it is too late?the rabbits are too many, the marsupials are too few, and the damage is done. Author John Marsden and illustrator Shaun Tan are from the land Down Under, and their story is an allegory for the settlement of Australia and the destruction of the aboriginal people at the hands of the self-righteous European settlers in the 19th century. The story of colonization in the supposed name of progress and civilization is a common one that can apply to the histories of many nations, but the ?stolen children? relates the tale of The Rabbits directly to Australia?s past, when aboriginal children (known as the ?Stolen Generation?) were taken and given to white families to be raised. It?s a mature theme indeed, highlighted by Tan?s gorgeous, highly-stylized, intricate paintings of canon-wielding rabbits in high-colored imperialist garb marching to overcome the sand-colored marsupials armed only with their spears and their sense of right. The Rabbits is a complex history presented in a way that is child-like in its telling and elegant in its presentation. This story book is no fairy tale, and that means its powerful message hits home with eloquence and compassion.

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