Hey, Rabbit! Neal Porter Books/Roaring Brook Press, 2010
The twin powers of friendship and imagination are stunningly portrayed with utter simplicity. Rabbit, with big blue eyes and a suitcase to match, meets his friends one by one, and they ask, “Hey, Rabbit! Is there anything for me in your suitcase?” Toucan asks if there’s a leaf to remind him of home, Crab wonders if there is a shell with the sound of the sea, Cat wants a ball of twine to play with. As Rabbit opens the suitcase, a full two-page spread appears with what each friend was dreaming of, floating and expanding to fill the page. Cat sees a roomful of twine, Toucan a whole jungle paradise. The all-encompassing visions embody the joy of finding exactly what one’s heart desires. At the end, when Rabbit wonders if there is anything for him, his friends all appear holding their treasures and bearing a large and beauteous turnip. The colors are soft and clear; the line is vivacious and the little anthropomorphized animals are sweet. Their satisfied imaginations fill whole pages, and friendship emanates from every wriggle.
Instead of a magician pulling a rabbit out a hat, here we have a rabbit magically producing all sorts of things from a suitcase. An ode to gift giving, Ruzzier’s latest picture book showcases his charming illustrations without letting a complicated plot get in the way. […] Ruzzier’s animals are a very appealing group, sweet and expressive with adorable little bellies, and each wish leads to a colorful and lively scene. […]
School Library Journal
As a rabbit pushes a large suitcase, many animals inquire about the contents. A toucan wonders, “HEY, Rabbit! Is there anything for me in your suitcase? Maybe a leaf to remind me of home?” Expectations are exceeded when each creature peeks inside. For example, Toucan discovers a tropical paradise full of exotic flora and fauna. More fantasies come true: a dog finds a birthday cake made of bones, a cat discovers a room full of yarn, and a hungry mouse enjoys tasting stacks of cheese. Ruzzier’s delicate ink-and-watercolor illustrations have a quirky, dreamy quality. […]