HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Blue Rabbit and the Runaway Wheel
Author and Illustrator: Christopher Wormell
Publisher: Dial, 2001
ISBN-13: 978-0803725089 (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0803725086 (Hardcover)
ISBN-13: 978-0099413882 (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0099413884 (Paperback)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Rating: 3 stars (FAIR)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Wormell, Christopher. Blue Rabbit and the Runaway Wheel (published in 2001 by Dial). Author and illustrator Christopher Wormell introduced Blue Rabbit in Blue Rabbit and Friends (2000). In Blue Rabbit and the Runaway Wheel, Blue Rabbit is riding his bicycle looking for adventure when, not paying attention to where he is going, he runs into a rock and loses one of the wheels. As he looks for it, he meets Squirrel, Badger, and Tortoise, all of whom have been knocked down or chased by something “whizzing” by. While they are following the trail, Blue Rabbit has a growing suspicion of just what this mysterious object may be. When the others find that their problems were caused by the errant wheel, they brand the bunny “Reckless Rider,” but he escapes by riding off on his newly repaired bike. While almost everyone likes the distinctive linoleum block prints which exist in a landscapeless, twilight world, some people did not like the story.
I can understand the objections of those who complain that Blue rabbit is reckless, damages the property of the other animals, and even though he knows he has wronged his friends and feels guilt and shame, then runs away when confronted. Certainly, Blue Rabbit should not held up as the most cautious or perceptive of animals here, and thus is not a paragon of virtue. He doesn’t set a good example for kids by simply riding away. However, it could be argued that what happened with the wheel was an accident that wasn’t completely his fault and that his escape was intended for his protection “before they could catch him.” We didn’t mind the book all that much, but used it as an example of what can happen when one is negligent, and also discussed how Rabbit would have better responded at the end. However, several people have suggested that the first Blue Rabbit book is much better.