The Rabbit Listened
The Rabbit Listened
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Annotation: When Taylor's block castle is destroyed, all the animals think they know just what to do, but only the rabbit quietly listens to how Taylor is feeling.
Catalog Number: #153835
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Common Core/STEAM: Common Core Common Core
Publisher: Dial
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 40
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-7352-2935-X
ISBN 13: 978-0-7352-2935-8
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2017008134
Dimensions: 27 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Doerrfeld (Maggie and Wendel, 2016) returns with a beautifully rendered story of loss, friendship, and learning how to rebuild. After a child named Taylor makes a block tower to be proud of and it gets accidentally destroyed, all the nearby animals think they know how to help. One by one, they offer Taylor what they think the child needs (shouting about it, pretending it didn't happen, etc.), but nothing they do makes Taylor feel better. Doerrfeld's combination of simple sentences and soft digital-ink illustrations is complex in its simplicity. Set against a predominantly blank background, the focus is on Taylor and her animal friends. After many pages showing Taylor balled up on the floor with the animals towering over her, a rabbit comes along, curls up beside her, and listens to what Taylor actually needs. Inspired by the author watching several of her friends go through difficult times, this is a tear-jerking tale of learning how to be there for a loved one, relevant for both the child hearing the story and the adult reading it.
Publishers Weekly
It-s something people of all ages struggle with: what-s the best way to comfort someone? Taylor, a curly-haired boy in a striped onesie, is miserable after a flock of birds knocks down his amazing wooden-block tower. One by one, several animals approach him with strategies for feeling better. A bear advises rage (-Let-s shout about it! Garrr! RARRR! GRAAAAR!-), and a snake suggests making someone else miserable (-Shhhhh. Let-ssss go knock down someone else-ssss-). Taylor refuses to be comforted in the ways the animals see fit, and they leave. Then along comes a rabbit who doesn-t say a thing, but in its willingness to listen, persist, and be physically close (-It moved closer, and closer. Until Taylor could feel its warm body-), Taylor senses genuine concern and respect for his feelings. He opens up in all of the ways the animals previously suggested, but now it-s on his terms-and then he-s ready to build again. Each of Doerrfeld-s highly distilled and elegantly concise vignettes brims with emotional honesty and profound empathy. The result is a story that-s wise, funny, and easy to take to heart. Ages 3-5. Agent: Rachel Orr, Prospect Agency. (Feb.)

School Library Journal
PreS-K Taylor is overcome with sadness when an impressive block construction crashes to the ground, and none of his animal friends' suggestions help. Each creature proposes an outlet: Chicken wants to talk about it, Bear surmises that Taylor is angry and offers to "shout about it," Hyena suggests laughing, and so on. Taylor doesn't feel like doing any of those things and remains in a funk. But when Rabbit cuddles in close and listens, the child finally lets loose. With sadness finally dispelled, Taylor can now envision beginning again to build something "amazing." The cartoon illustrations, digitally rendered with thick black outlines, depict a curly-haired moppet in striped pajamas. The animals appear in several vignettes as they submit their ideas. Taylor builds with rapt concentration, proudly admires the work, gasps in horror at its destruction, and curls up in sadness before expressing bottled up feelings. The only background color is the deep purple against which a flock of black birds swoops down and scatters the blocks and the background against Taylor's real and imagined structures. VERDICT In addition to validating feelings of anger and disappointment, this book is a fine vehicle for group discussion of ways to help others deal with these emotions. Sometimes just listening is best of all. Marianne Saccardi, Children's Literature Consultant, Cambridge, MA
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
Author/illustrator Doerrfeld gives children a model for how to process difficult events and provide meaningful support to friends who need it.Taylor is excited to build a block tower, but then a flock of birds swoops in and knocks it all down. Different animal friends try to help, in ways that cleverly mirror their nature: the bear shouts, the ostrich buries its head in the wreckage, and the snake hisses about revenge. But what Taylor (who is never referred to with gendered pronouns) really needs is to explore a whole range of emotional responses to loss, without being asked to perform any specific feeling. A cuddly rabbit shows up and just listens, giving Taylor—an expressive child with light skin, curly dark hair, and blue-and-white-striped one-piece pajamas—space for the whole process, going from grief to anger to resolution. The illustrations are spare yet textured, and the pace is excellent for reading aloud, with lots of opportunities for funny voices and discussion starters about supporting anyone through a hard time. Despite the obvious takeaway, this story doesn't feel overly moralizing or didactic. Keeping the focus on the small tragedy of tumbled blocks makes it young-child-appropriate, with opportunities for deeper connections with an older audience.This appealing work is an excellent addition to any emotional-intelligence shelf. (Picture book. 3-8)
Word Count: 296
Reading Level: 1.7
Interest Level: P-K
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 1.7 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 194968 / grade: Lower Grades
Lexile: AD450L

A universal, deeply moving exploration of grief and empathy

With its spare, poignant text and irresistibly sweet illustrations, The Rabbit Listened is a tender meditation on loss.

When something terrible happens, Taylor doesn't know where to turn. All the animals are sure they have the answer. The chicken wants to talk it out, but Taylor doesn't feel like chatting. The bear thinks Taylor should get angry, but that's not quite right either. One by one, the animals try to tell Taylor how to process this loss, and one by one they fail. Then the rabbit arrives. All the rabbit does is listen, which is just what Taylor needs.

Whether read in the wake of tragedy or as a primer for comforting others, this is a deeply moving and unforgettable story sure to soothe heartache of all sizes.

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