Rabbit Hill

Rabbit Hill (Newbery Library, Puffin)


Book: Rabbit Hill

Author and Illustrator: Robert Lawson

Publisher: Puffin, republished in 1977

ISBN-13: 978-0140310108

ISBN-10: 014031010X

Related website: www.penguinputnam.com (publisher)

Language level: 2

(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 8 and up

Rating: 5 stars (EXCELLENT)

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

Disclosure:  Any books donated for review purposes are in turn donated to a library.  No other compensation has been received for the reviews posted on Home School Book Review.

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     Lawson, RobertRabbit Hill (published in 1944 by The Viking Press; republished in 1977 by Puffin Books, a division of Penguin Books USA Inc., 375 Hudson St., New York City, NY  10014).  A lot of animals live on Rabbit Hill in rural Connecticut outside of Danbury.  They include Father and Mother Rabbit, their son little Georgie, Porkey the Woodchuck, the Gray Fox, the Gray Squirrel, Willie Fieldmouse, Mole, Phewie the Skunk, the Red Buck, and many others.  Over three years ago, good Folks lived in the house, the lawns were thick, the fields were covered with clover, and the gardens were full of vegetables.    Then evil days fell on the Hill when the good Folks moved away and their successors were mean, shiftless, and inconsiderate.  Last autumn, even they left, and the house had stood empty since then.

     However, now little Georgie comes running with some good news.  “New Folks Coming!”  He even makes up a song about it to sing while going up Danbury way to fetch Uncle Analdas.  But will the New Folks be planting people who will provide a good garden that will bring better times to the Hill, or will they have guns and traps and poisons with vicious dogs and nasty cats?  And when little Georgie gets hit on the Black Road by a car, what will the New Folks do?  This delightful story for younger readers won the Newbery Medal in 1945.  Uncle Analdas uses some “countrified” euphemisms such as “tarnation,” “gumdinged,” and especially “dingblasted.”  Also there are a few occurrences of pipe smoking and one reference to elderflower wine.

     I can understand how some modern kids whose highest notion of “good reading” is junk like Harry Potter or A Series of Unfortunate Events would find Rabbit Hill “boring.”  However, for those who like to savor truly fine children’s literature with charming characterizations and lovely illustrations, it is a heart-warming and beautiful tale that deserved the Newbery Award.  Of course, that was back in the days before the leftists took over the American Library Association.  One person noted that the book, apparently based upon the actual hill on which author Robert Lawson lived, is “a powerful reminder that we are stewards of God’s creation,” and another pointed out the clear message about being kind to our fellow creatures.

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