Can you imagine a picture book like a memory game? I couldn’t – until I read „The Other Rabbit“ by author-illustrator-team Maranke Rinck and Martijn van der Linden. The world of the favorite children’s games is made out of pairs. What a wonderful symbol for the search for friendship and love!
The rabbit’s world is just like in a memory game. It’s made out of pairs. And – who wants to be alone in world of couples? So the bunny starts a journey to find it’s match, “the other rabbit”. Rabbit meets lots of helpful creatures during his journey: A flock of birds, a king with a giant nose, a chicken, a swarm of fish and a herd of different animals help him to find “the other rabbit” – until they find their own counterparts… But the rabbit doesn’t give up. He finally discovers the whereabouts of the other rabbit. And it’s seems to be impossible to finally unite with his match: The other rabbit is guarded by a lonely dragon, who wants to keep his only friend… “Rabbit flew an airplane and drove a car. He swam in the sea and sailed a boat. But now he knows where the other rabbit is… and they can’t be together!” But isn’t everyone lonely until he finds his match? Rabbit has a great idea…
“The other rabbit” is a wonderful tale about the search for friendship and love, about never giving up and not getting discouraged. Younger children will love the repetitive rhymes of this book and enjoy the impressive illustrations by Martijn van der Linden while preschool aged kids will identify themselves with the rabbit and his search for his friend, “the other rabbit”.
But isn’t a metaphor like a memory game as search for happiness too abstract for most children? I don’t think so. Our almost-four-year-old immediately got the message. We were talking about the lonely rabbit, who is “sad to be alone” and “needs a friend” hours after we finished the book. Friends are important for children every age. But the search for a real friend isn’t always easy… Can’t all of us remember the first days of school, when we were desperately searching for someone nice, someone to talk to, laugh with, share secrets – a friend? I also loved the artwork by illustrator Martijn van der Linden: A little abstract and just the right hint of color to support the message of this book. A good match, not just when it comes to books: Maranke Rinck and Martijn van der Linden are married in real life, the couple has two children.
“The other rabbit” is another unconventional book published by one of the oldest and well known children’s book publishers in Holland, Lemniscaat. You can read our review of “Playground” by the same publisher here.