The Black Rabbit

by Philippa Leathers (Author) Philippa Leathers (Illustrator)

In this clever picture book, a debut author-illustrator introduces a plucky rabbit and the new companion that he just can't shake.

Rabbit has a problem. There's a large black rabbit chasing him. No matter where he runs -- behind a tree, over the river -- the shadowy rabbit follows. Finally in the deep, dark wood, Rabbit loses his nemesis -- only to encounter a real foe! Kids who like to be in on the secret will revel in this humorous look at shadows and friendship, brought to light by a talented animator.

Find books about:

More books in the series - See All

Publishers Weekly

One sunny day, a tiny white rabbit notices a gigantic and strangely quiet black rabbit by his side. No matter where he goes, "the Black Rabbit was right behind him." Readers will immediately recognize the Black Rabbit as a shadow, yet its "pursuit" prompts the white bunny to take cover in "the deep, dark wood"--a poor course of action. Having evaded his silhouette, the bunny now faces "two eyes shining brightly in the dark." He hurries back into sunlit fields, pursued by a slavering wolf, and braces for an attack that never comes; the Black Rabbit reappears and sends the predator scurrying. Leathers, an animator/illustrator making her children's book debut, creates uncomplicated watercolor spreads that balance the ominous presence of the Black Rabbit with humor had at the white rabbit's expense. Her bipedal, kawaii-influenced white bunny has an oversize head and petite body, and her snaggly-fanged, shaggy, and slant-eyed wolf recalls Lauren Child's caricatures. Images of the long-eared shadow against river reeds and hedges lend an unsettling touch to a lightly funny, lightly creepy story. Ages 3-6. Agent: Kirsten Hall, the Bright Agency. (Jan.)

Copyright 2012 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 3--When a little white rabbit leaves his burrow one gloriously sunny day, he see a looming black rabbit. Readers will understand that the figure is only his shadow, but the unknowing bunny runs, with Black Rabbit on his heels. He tries hiding behind a tree and swimming in a river, but the creature is still there, following him to the other side. Desperate, he runs into the deep, dark woods where he finally escapes the black rabbit. But another threat, a wolf, awaits him there, with "two eyes shining brightly," and Rabbit runs back out of the woods with Wolf close on his tail. Will the wolf devour him? Is Black Rabbit still out there, waiting for him? In this simple picture-book tale of light and shadows, the protagonist learns that what frightens us most may turn out to be our saving grace. It's a tad hair-raising at times but the ending will please. Leathers's rabbit is charming, traveling on two feet, with an exaggerated stuffed animal form that is endearing and reassuring.--C. J. Connor, Campbell County Public Library, Cold Spring, KY

Copyright 2013 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Leathers's rabbit is charming, traveling on two feet, with an exaggerated stuffed animal form that is endearing and reassuring.
—School Library Journal

Debut author-illustrator Leathers' soft, textured watercolors are never very frightening...which makes this story—one that's ultimately about friendship—ideal for the littlest kids. Befuddled animals are always adorable, and Rabbit, with his expressive ears and large eyes, isno exception.

Done in digitally combined watercolor and ink, the illustrations are expressive and comic. Along with the dramatic page turns, the art cleverly plays up both the story's suspense and the joke of the shadow's identity throughout, while making the naive rabbit an irresistible character.
—The Horn Book

Graphic designer Philippa Leathers' very charming debut picture book, captures the sense of discovery and wonder that children have as they learn about the kinds of things we now take for granted... like our shadows.

In a sweetly humorous debut, Philippa Leathers captures the ambivalence that young children sometimes feel about their shadows.
—The Wall Street Journal
Philippa Leathers
Philippa Leathers studied graphic design, illustration, and animation, and currently works as a freelance animator and illustrator. The Black Rabbit is her first picture book, while her animation credits include work on the Charlie and Lola and Peppa Pig TV series. She lives in England with her family, a gray tabby cat named Emmi, and two rabbits named Benji and Kiki, who inspired her to write The Black Rabbit, as where one goes the other follows close behind.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Candlewick Press (MA)
Publication date
January 20, 2013
Junior Library Guild Selection
BISAC categories
JUV039060 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Friendship
JUV019000 - Juvenile Fiction | Humorous Stories
JUV002210 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Rabbits
Library of Congress categories
Shades and shadows
Texas 2x2 Reading List
Recommended 2014 - 2014
Washington Children's Choice Picture Book Award
Nominee 2015 - 2015
Florida Children's Book Award
Honor Book 2015 - 2015

Subscribe to our delicious e-newsletter!