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The Gingerbread Rabbit    by Randall Jarrell & Garth Williams order for
Gingerbread Rabbit
by Randall Jarrell
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2003 (1964)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Gingerbread Rabbit is a beautifully illustrated, gentle classic, that begins when a mother wants to prepare an after school surprise for her beloved 'little Mary'. An encounter with 'the biggest, brownest rabbit she's ever seen' leads her to prepare a gingerbread rabbit (with raisin eyes, an almond nose and a cherry mouth), but she's interrupted by the 'Turnip greens, fresh turnip greens!' vegetable man.

While she's gone, the morning sun warms that gingerbread rabbit to life. Warned by the kitchen utensils of his imminent entry into the oven, he runs away, pursued by the mother (by now she doesn't plan to bake him but to keep him as a pet). He meets a helpful squirrel, and a charming, cunning fox (whom he believes to be a long-tailed, red rabbit and who claims to be a vegetarian) tries to entice him into his cave.

Of course, the big, brown rabbit shows up to clarify matters and save the day; the gingerbread rabbit finds a home; and the mother has a good idea that makes Mary very happy. Though a little dated by details like the vegetable man and its use of language, The Gingerbread Rabbit is a charming fable, whose lesson about smooth talking stranger danger is just as relevant today as when it was first issued.

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