Review of Alice's Farm: A Rabbit's Tale

Alice’s Farm: A Rabbit’s Tale
by Maryrose Wood; illus. by Christopher Denise 
Intermediate    Feiwel    368 pp.    g 
9/20    978-1-250-22455-2    $17.99 
e-book ed.  978-1-250-22456-9    $9.99 

A folksy omniscient narrator tells the tale of two families, rabbit and human, that share a territory. Young cottontail Alice and her brother Thistle are enjoying their first spring in their home of Burrow. Humans Carl, his baby sister, and his hapless idealistic back-to-the-land parents have just moved to a nearby country farm. Carl and the bunnies find a common goal in foiling a rapacious real estate developer by ensuring the viability of the farm as Carl and the rabbits, with a little help from their friends (fox, bald eagle, family dog), invent and carry out various schemes. As an animal fantasy, this lies somewhere between Watership Down and The Tale of Peter Rabbit, with detailed and fascinating rabbit world-building à la Adams (“Rabbits have four birthdays a year, one for each season, so the kits of her litter were three months old in human time”) and cozy, cadenced prose à la Potter (“brave the meadow, dodge the dog, outwit the farmer, and tunnel beneath the garden fence”). The storytelling is relaxed and digressive, the humor genially satiric, and the dialogue sparky. Fans of Cynthia Voigt’s Young Fredle (rev. 3/11) will feel right at home, and readers of Charlotte’s Web will delight in several sly echoes. An excellent choice for a family or classroom read-aloud.

From the November/December 2020 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Sarah Ellis
Sarah Ellis is a Vancouver-based writer and critic, recently retired from the faculty of The Vermont College of Fine Arts.

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