Unusually for a picture book, Two Rabbits comes with a subtitle: Even best friends argue sometimes. It sets itself up quickly as a book for the earlier cohort of picture book readers (3-5 years) within the popular and important social and emotional learning story space.
Little Grey Rabbit and Little Brown Rabbit are best friends. But one dark and rainy night they exchange ‘sharp words’, which are carried along by the wind. They thump and stomp away from each other and spend the evening walking alone through the lanes and fields of their farmland home. As they journey, they discover that they miss having someone with whom to share the things they see and do. The wind returns to whisper soft words of friendship and the two resolve their differences.
The narrative is a conventional conflict resolution story, but it is presented in a particularly engaging way. Repetitive language is used to show similarities and subtle differences between the two friends. Little Grey Rabbit pauses to take a breath, for example, and sees a fallen apple on the ground. She’s too angry to eat so she kicks it and hops away. On the facing page, Little Brown Rabbit stops to take a breath, sees a dandelion, and does the same. The reader can see that these friends are experiencing anger, loneliness, and self-reflection about their argument. Neither is necessarily wrong or right; in fact, the details of the disagreement are never shared. It’s the thought process and the apologies that matter.
The illustration style cleverly shows nighttime on the farm as gloomy but not frightening. The wind is an aggressive force at the beginning, bending trees and sending a kite into the air, and a gentle breeze at the end, delivering its message of comfort. Terrific endpapers also allow readers to explore a map of the farmyard.