Part Peter Rabbit
, part Velveteen Rabbit
is a gentle little tale of a handmade bunny with honesty sewn right in. Lovingly crafted by a young woman in England, Jeremy knows he is destined for America. But rather than be shipped off in a cardboard box, he decides to make the journey himself. With the help of a lonely old man named Mr. Pruneholt, a sea captain and his noisy parrot, and a sweet but slightly barmy old woman called the Village Dear, Jeremy makes his way across the sea and into North Carolina. Along the way he dodges grabby children, a hungry fox, and finds an unlikely friend in an owl. Written as a kind of allegory for a favorite psalm of the author's, the tale is also a mini-Odyssey
, complete with a sea crossing, beastly obstacles, and the promise of home at the end of the peregrinations.
Jan Karon is the author of the bestselling Mitford Years series, including At Home in Mitford. Teri Weidner's adorable depictions of plaid-trousered Jeremy and his friends and foes are sure to appeal to children from England to North Carolina and beyond. (Ages 7 to 10) --Emilie Coulter
From Publishers Weekly
Bestselling author Karon (Miss Fannie's Hat; the Mitford series for adults) shares a thickly nostalgic tale she crafted for her daughter, Candace, more than 40 years ago. Between serving up kidney pie and making tea for her husband, a young British woman named Lydia painstakingly fashions a stuffed bunny. Her creation complete, Lydia names the toy Jeremy and he springs to life. He learns that Lydia has made him "an honest bunny. That means that no matter what happens you will always be honest, for that's the way you're made." He also learns he has been promised to a girl named Candace in North Carolina. Rather than travel via a shipping box, Jeremy decides to find his own passage. He embarks on the journey without fear, after Lydia consults with her own maker and assures Jeremy, via Psalm 91, that angels will watch over him along the way. Karon's characters are as consciously quaint as her settings: the jovial old gardener, eyes a-twinkling, who treats Jeremy to a tea of English Rabbit (recipe included); Jethro, a sea-captain's parrot who can sing cowboy songs; newborn bunnies; and avuncular owls. Naturally Jeremy wishes to linger, but honest bunny that he is, he perseveres to deliver himself to Candace, all the while guided by Lydia's blessing. Unfortunately, the text is a heavy-handed mix of familiar fantasy and moral. Various plot elements quickly call to mind both The Velveteen Rabbit and The Tale of Peter Rabbit, but in the text as well as in Weidner's (Helen the Fish) plentiful color vignettes and illustrations, Jeremy lacks the distinctive spunk or emotional resonance of these literary predecessors. All ages. (Jan.)
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