Two White Rabbits
Reviewed by Dee Cameron
By Jairo Buitrago, illustrated by Rafael Yockteng, translated by Elisa Amado. Groundwood Books, 2015. 32 pages. $18.99/hardcover; $16.95/eBook. Recommended for ages 4–8.
This mysterious picture book chronicles the journey of a young girl and her father from their home in an unnamed Spanish-speaking country toward what is probably the United States. At one point, soldiers remove them from the top of a train, along with many fellow passengers. At another, they stop to allow the father to work and earn some money. In this town, a boy gives her a box containing the two white rabbits of the title. The book ends with the rabbits hopping in a desert landscape near a long wooden fence. Along the way, she notices the things they see and counts them, possibly looking for clues about their destination. Sometimes she asks where they are going, but she never gets an answer.
Parents and teachers reading this book to children from kindergarten through third grade should be ready to answer questions, however, because the book will raise many. This may be children’s first introduction to the lives of people moving from place to place, often under unwelcoming circumstances. Aside from facts, readers may be drawn to speculate about the characters’ feelings. For children, who perhaps made similar trips, this may be the first time they have seen their experience depicted in children’s literature.