Mr.Rabbit and the lovely presentBy Charlotte Zolotow (Author), Maurice Sendak(Illustrator)
In Memory of Charotte Zolotow
Author Charlotte Zolotow was an American author, poet, editor and a publisher of many children’s books. She published over 70 children’s books during her lifetime. Although Charlotte is no longer with us( she passed away this November) many remember her through her beautiful stories.
We read some of her children’s book this week, but chose to write about “Mr. rabbit and the lovely present”, a 1963 publication for its timelessness and simplicity. Here’s the story line…
A little girl has a problem. Her mother’s birthday is coming up. But little girl doe not know what gift to give her mother. So she asks for help from Mr Rabbit. Mr. Rabbit and little girl wonder what her mother likes. “Red” says the little girl. But they can’t give “red” itself , so they look around to find what “things” that are red could make a good present.
But that’s not enough ! Having found a ” red thing”, they continue to walk about and look for things that are green. They can’t give “green” itself, so they look for things that are green. And so the story continues. In pursuit of a gift, the two friends finds a colorful gift to put together.
This is a wonderful story for read aloud to the little ones. The repetitive nature of the task and the soothing conversation between Mr. Rabbit and girl make for a warm delightful tale.
We loved how the story so naturally lead to a beautiful conclusion. We also tried to guess as we read, on what things the girl and Mr rabbit would find together. The idea of making an intangible idea of “color’ into something concrete is wonderfully done through story-telling. Also, I could come up with quite a few lesson plans around this tale of find and seek. Since my daughter is older, we talked about working in groups and how to break down a bigger problem into little steps.
On illustrations, I found Maurice Sendak’s illustrations to be warm and inviting. They add to the soothing nature of this story. It is no surprise that the combination of Zolotow and Sendak should result in a Caldecott Honor Book.
“Mr rabbit and the lovely present” was a great read. We are off to find more from this author.