Beyond the Burrow by Jessica Meserve

Beyond the Burrow by Jessica Meserve, Peachtree, 2022. 9781682633755 

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Format: Hardcover Picture book

What did you like about the book?  It’s the illustrations that make this book so utterly charming.  They were created digitally using mixed media.  The soft burrow shades change to woodsy ones and onto watery stark ones.  All the creatures are drawn intricately and realistically.  To Rabbits, home is everything and that home is a burrow “where it is warm and safe and cozy.”  Rabbits live all together in warrens, one very large family.  Their burrows contain signs reading “Practice digging twice a day”, “Stay calm and eat carrots”, “Keep Quiet! Sleeping babies!”, “Hopping is happiness”, “Remember to refill emergency carrot supply” and one of caution: “Stop! Beyond the Burrow!”.  The two-page spread here shows the innards of the burrow, filled with rabbits, digging, sleeping, playing, eating, learning.  One morning as a Rabbit was pulling up a particularly stubborn carrot, she stumbled over, rolled down the hill and OUT of the area of the burrow!  She tumbled down a very deep hole and into a lake.  Pulling herself up onto a log she meets a very strange creature, one that is hairy and clawed and giant! Poor terrified Rabbit hopped as fast as she could and dug herself into a hole to hide.  It seems, though, that the monstrous creature was not going to eat her, but rather dropped food down into the hole where she was hiding.  Suddenly Rabbit became curious.  She climbed a tree to find a great variety of other animals, the anteater (who saved her), a pangolin, a snail, birds, a turtle (if rabbits can climb, why not turtles?), a monkey, a porcupine, a lizard, insects, a goat.  Soon Rabbit was showing the other animals how to hop; they showed her how to fly, how to hang, how to swing, how to dance….  But now she must find her way back home.

This thoroughly delightful story is one of courage, bravery, imagination and friendship showing how everyone can live together in companionship and love.

Anything you did not like about the book? No.

To whom would you recommend this book?  This is a good choice not only for preschool storytimes, but for K-1 grades at the beginning of the school year and repeated as a reminder throughout the year.

Who should buy this book? Public libraries, K-1 classrooms and child-care centers

Where would you shelve it? Picture books

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  Yes.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Katrina Yurenka, Retired Librarian, Contributor, Youth Services Book Review

Date of Review: May 16, 2022

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