Title: “Because of the Rabbit”
Author: Cynthia Lord
The Plot In 5 Sentences Or Less: Emma is going into 5th grade and she has decided that she no longer wants to be homeschooled. On the night before her first day at public school, her father the game warden brings home a rabbit that was stuck in a neighbor’s fence. Over the following days, Emma learns how to care for the rabbit and also that making friends in 5th grade is a more difficult task than she imagined. When a school project requires teaming up with some classmates, Emma learns the meaning of true friendship.
My Take: This was a straightforward story about friendship and learning the many social pitfalls of 5th grade. In its tone and content, it really reminded me of The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes. There are no bad guys in this story, so Lord sidesteps many of the bully and mean girl tropes that populate most younger and middle grade chapter books. I also appreciated the character of Jack who suffers from ADHD and is quirky and sweet natured. All told, readers looking for a realistic fiction book for 3rd and 4th graders will be well pleased with this choice.
One Interesting Note About The Author: One of Cynthia Lord’s inspirations for this story was her experience with rabbits. She has 3 pet bunnies and has also fostered twenty-six of them in the last few years!
I’m somewhat interested in reading this book. My siblings and I were homeschooled and my younger sister also decided after a certain point she wanted to try out public school, so it will be interesting to see a life change like that portrayed. I’m also interested in the disability theme, even though I didn’t like Cynthia Lord’s autism representation AT ALL in ‘Rules.’
Thanks for your comment. Funny enough, I also did not care for Lord’s representation of autism in “Rules.” That book was a struggle for me to get through. I thought that the portrayal of the transition from homeschool to public school was convincing in “Because of the Rabbit.” But you experienced that first hand, so you will know better than I will.