Review: That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown

This week I thought I’d share one of my children’s all time favorites. It may be a little hard to find, but I found it at both my library and through used book sellers.


That Rabbit Belongs to Emily BrownThat Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown

Written By: Cressida Cowell

Illustrated By: Neal Layton

Orchard Books, 2007, Hardcover Version

Target Audience: Ages 3-7

Genre: Fiction

How We Discovered This Book

I happened to borrow this book from our library based on the cover art, and my children and I fell in love with it. I tracked down a used copy for our home library.

Summary

Emily Brown goes everywhere with her bunny, Stanley. They have all kinds of adventures: in space, in the Amazon rain forest, and many other places. The Queen decides she wants a toy as nice as Stanley. In fact, she wants Emily Brown’s bunny. Now.

What I Liked

The story is told with much creativity and humor. The illustrations not only complement the story, they have many additional details waiting for a perceptive child to find. The writing is so tight and critical to the story, you feel as if Ms. Cowell chose every word very carefully. There are no extra words in this story, but it doesn’t feel spare, either. We quickly know what Emily Brown is all about without much text.

What Did My Son Aidan Think?

Both my son and my daughter love this book. We currently read it at bedtime 3-5 times a week. They each have their favorite parts that they recite during the storytelling. Aidan’s favorite part (and mine) is when Emily Brown corrects the Queen’s military men, sent to get the bunny: “This rabbit is NOT for sale. And his name is NOT Bunnywunny. It’s Stanley.” My daughter loves when the men offer Emily ten talking dolls that say “Mama, Mama.”

Resources

If you enjoy this book too, and would like have more fun with it, here are some resources to check out:

Lesson Plans (Lesson 2)

Emily Brown Activity Sheets

Discussion Topics

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NaNoWriMo… 2 Months Later

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) was in November, and you may remember that the goal is to write a 50,000 word novel during between November 1st and November 30th. I boldly (or insanely, depending on how you look at it) took on the challenge.

Since I typically write picture books and middle grade novels, I adapted the challenge for my needs. My goal was to write two middle grade novels in November, totaling 50,000 words.

So how did it go?

I finished the first draft of one brand new novel, about a brother and sister who discover a portal in their hall closet that takes them to 1983. It was quite fun to write, since the girl in the story is 10 years old, and I was 10 years old in 1983. (Go ahead, do the math. I dare you.) I really enjoyed adding in many references to 80’s hair band music, parachute pants, big hair, the Atari and other “new technology”. I’m sure some of it will end up being removed in revision, but I enjoyed it just the same.

So, one novel draft down. Check! Unfortunately, this first novel came in well under 25,000 words. So I wasn’t at the halfway point yet. Sigh.

This was when I decided to ignore the word count, and write until I was done. Good plan right? I began writing the second novel, a continuation of another novel I have in revision. In this draft, a 13-year old girl travels with her dad for two weeks as he completes his cross-country truck driving job, hoping to experience “the world,” and become a better writer.

I got a good start on this second novel, and then life got in the way: birthdays, Thanksgiving, family visits, etc… all wonderful things that ended up putting a halt on my writing progress.

So in the end, I did not meet the 50,000 word goal. And I’m okay with that. I now have 2 novels to revise, and one to finish writing the first draft. The draft is just bursting to get out of my head, so I just have to make the time to finish it.

Perhaps this will be the year of the novel for me. Wouldn’t it be a great year if I could start it in revision, and end it with an agent? Let’s cross our fingers.

New Review Format & The Legend of the Candy Cane

Welcome to 2013 everyone! As we begin this new year, we’ll be introducing some new types of posts to keep things interesting. You’ll see more regular book reviews, writing challenges, and perhaps even some interviews. We’re also open to suggestion, if there is something you would like to see us discuss. Feel free to post your thoughts in the comments.

We have included book reviews before, but I thought they could use a little more regular formatting. So here goes…


The Legend of the Candy CaneThe Legend of the Candy Cane

Written By: Lori Walburg

Illustrated By: James Bernardin

Zondervan Publishing House, 1997, Hardcover Version

Target Audience: Ages 4-8

Genre: Fiction

How We Discovered This Book

This book was read by my son’s teachers in religious instructions class. He liked it so much that he borrowed it from his school library.

What I Liked

The story is a charming tale of a possible meaning behind the creation of the candy cane. The story is religious in nature, but the story flows so smoothly, it feels more like a winter or Christmas book than a religious one. I am fascinated by mythology and the stories we create to explain those things that we don’t completely understand, so this story certainly appealed to me. The illustrations mirror the old-fashioned feel of the story.

What Did My Son Aidan Think?

Clearly, this book made an impression on Aidan for him to seek it out at the library. He also liked the illustrations, but his favorite part was that the story was about candy. Candy canes are the feature, but many other kinds of candy are a part of the story. Each time we read it, I think he drooled over the possibilities.