Rachael Castle and illustrated by Nicholas Wight, Salvation Army
Emmaline Rabbit is a gorgeous picture book about being a refugee; in this case a rabbit and her family who are forced out of the woods by a pack of wild dogs and try to settle in the jungle instead.
The drawings are vivid; particularly the expression on the rabbits’ faces when they are walking under the hot sun looking for a new home or are in the jungle conscious of being watched by unfriendly eyes.
One of the pictures also has a newspaper on the ground, The Jungle Times, warning the jungle creatures about the rabbits’ arrival.
The rhymes are quite good too and scan well; something not always common in children’s picture books. There is also a nice use of alliteration.
“We will find somewhere safe, we will find
Somewhere with space for a rabbit or two.
Where the creatures are friendly to strangers they meet,
With lots of green grass, and plenty to eat.”
The ideology behind the story is cleverly revealed by the characters’ conversations. For example, the chimpanzee says: “This is the jungle — it’s no place for rabbits, With rabbity ways and rabbity habits.”
Doesn’t it just remind you of people arguing on talkback radio that the asylum seekers won’t and can’t fit in to Australian life?
Emmaline Rabbit is a great way to teach small children about the dilemmas confronting refugees.