By Roni Schotter
Illustrated by Cyd Moore
*This book is out of print, but may be available in your favorite used bookstore on on Amazon used books.
Rabbit goes everywhere with Kara: to Papa’s house, where they eat “oodles of noodles” and play hide-and-seek, and to Mama’s house, where they eat chicken and rice and dance. But one day, when it’s time to leave Papa’s house for Mama’s, Rabbit asks, “Where do I live?” Kara doesn’t know the answer. When Rabbit asks to stay at Papa’s house, Kara leaves her toy behind, but she misses Rabbit at Mama’s house. What is the answer to Rabbit’s question, and how can Kara keep from missing him? With enormous warmth and empathy, Missing Rabbit speaks directly to young children whose parents are divorced and live in different places. Cyd Moore’s whimsical artwork is perfectly matched to this reassuring tale about parental love and the true meaning of home.
A comfort to children who “go back and forth,” Schotter’s (Captain Snap and the Children of Vinegar Lane) thoughtfully conceived story addresses the anxieties of very young children living under joint custody arrangements. Kara, reluctant to leave Papa’s house for Mama’s, leaves her stuffed rabbit with Papa as a way of coping with the hard good-bye. At Mama’s house, though, she finds herself missing Rabbit. Kara’s parents are on good terms, and they rush to reassure her. “Mama phones Papa. Papa brings Rabbit.” Heading back to Papa’s, the same thing happens again; Rabbit gets left behind as a symbol of Kara’s reluctance to leave, only to be retrieved when there is “too much missing!” “Where do I live?” Rabbit whispers into Kara’s ear. It’s a question Kara wonders about, too. ” `In my house sometimes,’ Mama says. `In my house sometimes,’ Papa says. `But wherever you are, you are always in our hearts,’ Mama tells her.” Throughout, little ditties Kara sings with each parent counterpoint the more somber theme (“Late or early, straight or curly, Noodle! Our favorite foodle!” Kara and Papa sing). Moore (the Stinky Face books) contributes endearing, soft-toned watercolor vignettes and full-page pictures in her customary, slightly stylized manner, joining Schotter in portraying both parents as responsible and affectionate, and their two households as equally loving. Ages 3-6.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 2–A book about the effect of divorce on a child, illustrated with warm, soft watercolors. “When Kara goes to Papa’s house, she and Papa eat noodles. Oodles of noodles!-Kara always brings Rabbit.-Together with Papa, they sing their noodle song.” The song is painted in a cheerful blue arc over a picture of Kara, Rabbit, and Papa parading to the table with a huge bowl of spaghetti. On the opposite page, father and daughter seriously slurp pasta, their heads close together. When it’s time to return to Mama’s house, Kara is happy and also sad. She leaves Rabbit with Papa. The child is happy to be with her mother, but she misses Rabbit, and her father returns him. When it’s time to go back to his house, she leaves her toy with her mother. Of course, she misses him, and he is returned to her. Finally, she tells him, “From now on, you will stay with me and go wherever I go. Otherwise, there will be too much missing!” While children may only indirectly understand that Kara no longer needs to leave her stuffed animal behind as an assurance that her parent won’t forget her, they will appreciate the playful, cozy atmospheres of the two different but very loving and noncompetitive homes. For young children dealing with divorce-and their parents-this book is a winner.
Susan Weitz, Tompkins County Public Library, Ithaca, NY – Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Ages 4-7. Kara feels disoriented moving between her divorced parents’ homes. Her stuffed rabbit is her alter ego, and at each house, she purposely leaves him behind–only to miss him horribly. It’s Rabbit who voices Kara’s worries: “Where do I live?” Kara answers with the same reassurance that her parents have given her: at Mama’s sometimes, at Papa’s sometimes, but “always in my heart.” It’s the details that move this warm story beyond bibliotherapy. Filled with comfortable routines, silly rhymes, and special games, the text reveals the loving bond Kara shares with each parent, which is echoed in charming cartoon drawings of Kara snuggling with Mama or Papa, cozy and safe in inviting homes. Some children may yearn for the extraordinary devotion Kara enjoys from her parents, who shuttle Rabbit between houses at a moment’s notice; all will recognize the strong message that Kara is loved, wherever she is. Pair this with Claire Masurel’s Two Homes, a 2001 Booklist Editor’s Choice selection.
Gillian Engberg – Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved