A simple but delightful story that will make a perfect bedtime read.
Ollie and her toy bunny have been waiting for the rain to stop for a long, long time. The moment it stops raining, they rush out to play in the puddles. Ollie’s about to start splashing around when a magic breeze of blossom whooshes past, transforming Bunny into a real rabbit. Bunny races out of sight and Ollie has to rush to keep up. It’s just as well she does because it’s not long before Bunny’s in danger – stranded in the rising water when it starts to rain again. Luckily, Ollie brought her umbrella and is able to use it as a boat to rescue Bunny. But that’s not the end of their adventure. When she realises they’re lost, Ollie has to rely on Bunny and her trusty umbrella to find their way home.
This is a simple but delightful story based on the widespread child’s fantasy of a toy coming to life. Those at the lower end of the picture book readership are likely to take the story literally (as the world is amazing to them and anything is possible), while slightly older picture book readers will probably recognise the imaginary elements and use the ideas in the story to help them create their own playtime adventures. Indeed, there’s a lovely scene when Ollie and Bunny are amazed by the clouds and this has definite potential to inspire children to study the clouds for shapes of animals.
The illustrations adopt a simple ‘naïve’ style with lollipop trees, hills and flat houses which works well to emphasise the ‘dreamlike’ content of the story. The colours are almost monochrome with touches of yellow, green and gold and this also creates a sense of the ‘unreal’. I especially liked the shiny gold leaves which add a magical quality.
There are three cut out holes in the book which add interest. As an adult, I had to pause to admire the planning that went into these as, in each instance, the image through the cut-out is distinctly different to what it turns out to be when you turn the page.
Overall this is a sweet story that will make a perfect bedtime read, especially as Ollie and her bunny snuggle up to sleep at the end.
If you’re looking for another calming bedtime story, why not try The Light in the Night by Marie Voigt.
Date: March 2019
Publisher: Simon and Schuster