The Rabbit Problem
Easter is just a hop away (heh, I kill myself sometimes). Keep reading…
Emily Gravett gives a hare-larious take on the phrase “making bunnies”, in her book The Rabbit Problem. Diversely talented, Gravett is both the author and illustrator on this story about an expanding family of rabbits.
The Rabbit Problem is brilliantly packaged. Laid out in a calendar format, the pages provide a clever backdrop for the story of a rabbit named Lonely, who sends out invitations in January looking for a friend. By February, two cold bunnies (Lonely and Chalk) snuggle together to keep warm against the winter chill, resulting in two baby bunnies (kits) born in March. Each month brings a new set of challenges as the parents try to cope with their rapidly growing brood.
The book is packed with illustrations, that are created using a wonderful combination of watercolour and collages. Gravetts provides extra amusing tidbits hand-written on the calendar: notes about family meals, planting and harvesting carrots, along with many more activities you might expect of rabbits. I can’t but help imagine similar calendars hanging in every household with all the family activities, school plays, dentist appointments, birthdays and other important dates marked on it. Packing in extra fun, Gravett has included novelty elements like instructions on how to make a knitted jumper, baby bunny’s first record book, a local rabbit newspaper, a carrot cookbook, and offers plenty more elements to explore and discover. It’s like going on an Easter egg hunt, only in book form.
The Rabbit Problem is based on a problem that was solved in the 13th Century by the mathematician Fibonacci. In Fibonacci’s famous sequence of numbers, each number is the sum of the previous two numbers, starting with 0 and 1. The higher up the sequence, the closer two consecutive Fibonacci numbers, when divided by each other, will approach the golden ratio. For those of us in the art field, you might remember the golden ratio from art class, which was widely used in Renaissance paintings.
Hoppy Easter Everyone!
The Rabbit Problem, a children’s book review by Thao Lam
Author and Illustrator Emily Gravett
Emily Gravett claims her only skill is drawing, but I think she is also a terrific storyteller with a witty sense of humor. Born in Brighton in 1972, Gravett was a born to be an explorer. Beginning at the young age of 16, she traveled across the U.K. for eight years seeking adventure. Though both her parents are artistic – her mother was an art teacher in a special needs school and her father was a printmaker – Gravett never thought about making a career out of the arts. She rediscovered her passion for picture books after spending many hours reading to her daughter, and she was so inspired, she enrolled at Brighton University and obtained a B.A. in illustration. In the final year of her degree, Gravett submitted her book Wolves to the MacMillan Prize for Illustration, which she subsequently won, and went on to win other awards like the Nestle Children’s Book Prize and Kate Greenaway Medal.
To read more on Emily Gravett, please visit her website: www.emilygravett.com
Publisher MacMillan UK (August 2009)