Henkes uses a combination of marker and crayon to create lovely, realistic, but simple, full-page and double spread illustrations. This book would be a wonderful example to show students that even with the most basic materials, a talented artist can create exceptional work.
“Little white rabbit hopped along. When he walked through the high grass, he wondered what it would be like to be green.” He wonders about being tall as a tree, unable to move like a rock, and flying like a butterfly. When he encounters a cat, fear shuts down his imagination and he races home to his mother. Here, he doesn’t need to wonder who loves him.
I love the message of exploration and imagination. While rabbit has an adventurous spirit, he isn’t foolish, and runs for safety when he encounters true danger. Mother provides the reassurance rabbit needs for his next adventure.
While the illustrations certainly carry the book, I felt the text could be a little smoother. “When he hopped over the rock, he wondered what it would be like not to be able to move.” seems to break the flow of the story. As well, “when he hopped under the butterflies, he wondered what it would be like to flutter through the air.” does not match the rhythm of “what it would be like to be green.”or “what it would be like to be tall.” In spite of this, the story is easy for a young child to follow.
On a personal note, I tried several times to interest my granddaughter in this book. She will sit on my lap for over half an hour and listen to stories, sometimes the same one over and over. It took four tries on different days to get through this book with her and she didn’t want to read it again. I think it lacks suspense.