Published on December 12, 2012 by Carol
Author: Andy Gregg
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Illustrator: Cat Bowman Smith
A proud wildcat gets his comeuppance when he tries to make a meal out of the magical Great Rabbit in this version of an Algonquin legend. Wildcat bets his tail that he’ll find and devour the largest and most delicious rabbit of the land, but the wily bunny–who has overheard Wildcat’s boast–pulls out all the stops to trick the beast out of his dinner. Mystical powers allow Great Rabbit to appear to Wildcat in different guises, including a tomahawk-wielding (read tail-chopping) warrior. Gregg’s retelling lumbers in places, limited by the parameters of a plot that has some logistical glitches. Surely a creature as powerful as Great Rabbit could easily escape Wildcat’s advances without such a complicated ruse. And Wildcat’s betting with himself diminishes any true challenge, among other things. Except for occasional terms such as “wigwam” and “medicine man,” the story lacks an ethnic identity. Smith’s chunky, thick-lined gouache paintings are a bit of a departure from her characteristic breezy, cartoonish style. Icy blue backgrounds, glowing wigwam interiors and decorative borders that sport patterns similar to those found in Native American textiles and art add a pinch of spice. Ages 6-10.
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