Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Rabbits” as Want to Read:
The Rabbits
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Rabbits

4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  2,076 ratings  ·  183 reviews
The Rabbits is an allegory about colonization, told from the perspective of animals.
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 15th 2003 by Simply Read Books (first published 1998)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Rabbits, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Rabbits

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric CarleWhere the Wild Things Are by Maurice SendakGreen Eggs and Ham by Dr. SeussGoodnight Moon by Margaret Wise BrownThe Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
Best Picture Books
164th out of 1,547 books — 1,064 voters
Possum Magic by Mem FoxDiary of a Wombat by Jackie FrenchAnimalia by Graeme BaseWhere is the Green Sheep? by Mem FoxWhere the Forest Meets the Sea by Jeannie Baker
Best Australian literature for children
41st out of 275 books — 127 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details

We are a plague species. Using his unique, beautiful visual language, Tan explains just what that means.
Nov 28, 2007 Rebecca rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Illustrated by Shaun Tan, this book is just as good as The Red Tree in the way it takes very simple text and evocative pictures to communicate a complex, emotional message. When the Rabbits come to Australia, the native animals try to be welcoming, but soon find themselves overrun. Several pages gave me a lump in my throat; the images just do such a good job of communicating helplessness, loss, and grief. I admire how well Shaun Tan can produce such a monumental sense of space in his pictures.

So. . . this is a pretty obvious allegory posing as a children’s book, but which will be of interest mainly to Leftist adults. It portrays white Europeans as big rodents moving into, say, Australia or North America and bringing all their baggage and bulldozing the native peoples and environment. And the story (although, this is really a story only by the greatest distortion of the term) ends with this line, dripping with bathos: “Who will save us from the rabbits?”

It’s such a strange, hypocritic
Aug 31, 2008 Relyn rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: nobody
Recommended to Relyn by: I love the illustrator
What is it with all the fables and allegories being published for children?? KNOCK IT OFF!! Give us a good story! Yikes, I really hated this book! It's like here's some gorgeous art served with a heaping helping of guilt and a lesson or two. YUCK. I read it because I love Shaun Tan's art. But, please!
کم کم دارم شیفته ی قدرت تخیل این مرد میشم. این دومین کمیکیه که ازش میخونم
(Arrival کمیک دیگه)
خلاقیتش توی نقاشی دنیاهای عجیب و غریب، با جزئیات هیجان انگیز، واقعاً بی نظیره. آدم رو میبره به یه سرزمین رؤیایی، پر از نقاشی های سحر انگیز.
داستان این کمیک، خیلی ساده بود. شاید خیلی مشابهش رو شنیده باشیم و احتمالاً از مهاجرت انگلیسی ها به قاره ی نو (امریکا) الهام گرفته شده بود. ولی نکته ی مهم، داستان نیست. فقط و فقط نقاشی هاست. حتماً پیشنهاد میکنم به خاطر نقاشی ها، این کمیک رو بخونید. چهارده پونزده صفحه بی
Anne Hamilton
It's a love-hate relationship with this book. Gorgeous illustrations and an allegorical message that should be light and deft but somehow comes across as being heavy-handed and a touch hypocritical.

It isn't a book for children which is why it's shelved on my 'pseudo-kids' bookshelf. It's going to go over the heads of most of them, even into their teenage years. Trust me, I've taught thousands of 12-17 year olds and, without an explanation about the parable/metaphor, the message about colonisatio
Ooooh, this is such a great picture book. The illustrations and text are a perfect marriage. Shaun Tan composes complex, layered images. John Marsden's text is spare and controlled. Pairing the simplicity of text with the rich illustrations makes the ideas raised in the book more resonant.

"The Rabbits" could be interpreted as just a cautionary allegory about man's effect on the natural world. However, the references to Australia's history are hardly subtle (the Union Jack in stylized form appea
I'd love to give this two different ratings. One for the stunning artwork, which consistently says more and says it better than the text. My students and I pour over the art work for ages, looking at the use of a skull and crossbones style Union Jack, the 'logic' of maths and science symbols which were used to rationalise so much of what the early European settlers did in Australia, the numbers attached to everything, the repeating of motifs throughout the book. As a visual literacy text, I easi ...more
This book smoulders with profound emotions and ruminations on the human nature and our history. The rabbits are, naturally, an allegory of humans, our greed, desire to dominate, subjugate and control. The change of the colour palette is worth noticing - the rabbits come to a world teeming with life, tranquility and exuberance, but when they commence their dire process of subjugation and they usher in a full-throttle industrial revolution, the colours become grim, murky and depressing.
This is no
Tammy Flanders
This book has so much potential as a great classroom resource. There are lots of levels of complexity to explore depending on the grade being taught. For instance, I've had a student teacher tell me they've used this with grade 4 (around 9 or 10 years old) about Canadian history and treaties with First Nations peoples. I see connections with higher grades related to colonization and imperialism. Also, great for teaching about allegory as a literary device in language arts.
Knowing the impact of r
The rabbits is a mesmerizing picture book which depicts the story of the colonisation of Australia. You know a book is a priceless treasure when it touches your heart .
The book gave me something text books and documentaries could not this picture book , through simple words , short sentences and brilliant images, allowed me to feel the raw emotions of the indigenous Australians . The solemn atmosphere and feeling from the book cannot be describe.
I praise John Marsden and Shaun Tan who succes
Kelly H. (Maybedog)
Tan illustrates this heart-wrenching story by John Marsden of a world overcome by things that don’t belong. Having just read Billy Bryson’s book about Australia, I knew immediately that the story was both about white people coming to Australia as well as the rabbits they brought with them that have destroyed so much of Australia’s wild beauty. The artwork is stunning as usual and, combined with the text, almost brought tears to my eyes.
Agnieszka Cłapka
The book is not aimed at "typical" children audience, as it is an allegory of both colonization of new territories, and of destruction of the Earth made by the mankind and the technological progress. The rabbits play the role of humans, and their history of invasion is closely connected with the history of Australia, where Shaun Tan comes from, which is another layer of the allegory. The end of the story is threatening, as if we've arriveed at a wall: is there any hope? Who is going to save us? ...more
Jessica Rawden

This is one of those books that should not really be in a children's section. It is a book considered for grades 2-8, but I would highly suggest the book only for older kids. The illustrations, by Shaun Tan, are incredible (up to par in complication with David Wiesner). If you haven't gotten your hands on some of his weird images yet, I would highly suggest you do so.

John Marsden is known for his post-apocalyptic young adult stories including Tomorrow
So, this is not really a children's picture book, but as the short blurb says - an allegory about (the dark side of) colonization.
Illustrated by Shaun Tan, written by John Marsden (author of the Tomorrow series), the book tugs at your heartstrings, as you leaf through pages filled with surreal, evocative, dark art.
Alireza Alef
چقدر خوب بود این کتاب، چند صفحه کتاب با چند تا جمله اما کلی وقت از من رفت که دقیق بشم رو جزئیاتش، نقاشیها خیلی با اون ته دل آدم همخوان بودن، فقط حیف از روی نسخه الکترونیکی دیدمش، امثال این کتاب رو حتما باید از روی نسخه چاپی و خوند
Deyanira Genao
At an initial glance, The Rabbits appears to be a text simply describing a world of rabbits and marsupial-like creatures. Upon closer inspection, this picture book, geared towards older children, serves as an allegory for the experience of colonialism in Austrailia. Through plain text, readers see the progression from the initial moments of this historical time period, from when the "Rabbits" first land on the island, to when they begin to dominate and control the space that once belonged to the ...more
Marta Michniewicz
This is an intricate allegory of the conquest of new territories and its consequences. Withing the book, we can observe a number of rabbits conquering a land which has once belonged to the native creatures. As the plot unfolds, we witness the fight between the natives and the newcomers, the defeat of the former and the subsequent suffering of the natives as well as the overexploitation of their land.

The Rabbits is for many reasons a rather disturbing book. First of all, it ends with a very obsc
Hannah Wolf
In this dystopian story, it is about rabbits fighting everyone else around them. Things are coming into there area and destroying their land. These rabbits are not normal looking rabbits. They are not your fluffy cuddly looking rabbits, they are portrayed more human like and the story is told in the point of view of the rabbits. Throughout the whole story the rabbits are fighting every one else and in the end, they lose. They had their grass eaten, their trees were chopped down and their childre ...more
Kendal Dastrup
The Rabbits by John Marsden is about the colonization in a place told by the viewpoint of a rabbit. things go wrong and the rabbits are taking over. on one page it even mentions that they took the children. this book was shown to my children's literature class as a dystopian picture book and i would have to agree. the subtle hints of a world that is not completely read while still having lifelike elements lends itself to this genre. the negative undertones seem to control the entire work and are ...more
Lindsay Fischer
"The Rabbits" is a dark look at immigration. The book takes races and turns them into animals. Animals come to a new land and slowly take over. The natives are very skeptical and somewhat clueless about what is going on. The rabbits go from unknown, to dictators and their is a huge war. The rabbits destroy the land and oppress the natives. This is a classic story looking at events that have gone on in history over and over.
Like Marsden's other book, "The Arrival", this story is about foreigner
I saw this book back in 2001 at the public library in Lakemba, where I used to walk sometimes with my kids from my house in Punchbowl.

'The Rabbits' is this not-veiled-at-all allegory where this happy land inhabited by sugar glider things is invaded by rabbits who are obviously Anglo-Celtic Australians and do all kinds of nasty stuff. I considered checking it out and not returning it, because it was evil.

Is there any hope of coexistence with the rabbits held out in the book?


Are the rabbits
Mateusz Pilas
Another amazing book illustrated by Shaun Tan, one of the most renowned picture book authors. John Marsden decided to tell a story of the colonization of Australia, but with a twist. Here the rabbits are the ones who colonize. They are portrayed as vicious, bloodthirsty, frenzied rodents that will not be stopped. They somehow resemble Monty Python's & The Holy Grail's rabbit in this case. The illustrations are, which is to be expected from Shaun Tan, simply gorgeous. One can see that rabbits ...more
Anastasia Alexandra
The level of detail in the illustrations is incredible!
The illustrations of the book fit the context in the book very well. The writing was also very fitting to the illustrations because of the font type chosen. Both played off each other well for example text hidden within and around the drawing at times. It’s a unique children’s book in that it was based off some sort of fable and not many books are based off fables. I liked how they made the rabbits seem more fearful to us as were reading. If the children didn’t know what a rabbit was I feeling l ...more
In this very surreal dystopian-like picture book, the rabbits come and invade the Earth. The other animals try to fight them off, but try as they might they have problems defeating them.
It was evident that this was the same author as The Arrival, and the mysterious creatures and perplexing story shown through and exhibited his style used before. However, this book was more colorful and it included text due to the age range it was mostly likely geared at. The book also uses phrases like "we lost
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This is a children's picture book, but I'm not sure younger children will "get it". It's ostensibly about the invasion of one species (rabbits) into a land already inhabited by another. The rabbits do all sorts of harm to the environment, and nothing is the same. Older children may grasp its allegorical meaning.
Our future child's primer on colonialism. The art in this book is amazing, and crammed full of surreal, dystopian details (included a wonderful reference to Brazil), and the sparse text highlights the cold, brutal nature of colonization.

We're going to raise one depressed kid.
Klaudia Maniakowska
“The Rabbits” is a picture book illustrated by Shaun Tan. The story is quite simple and the plot is rather linear: a native flock of rabbits is being conquered by a non-native flock of rabbits. Shaun Tan does a beautiful job of capturing the spirit of colonization, showing the lack of understanding between the rabbits, the lost fight, the destroyed land. All the illustrations compliment the story perfectly, because the colors are faded, and the rabbits are slightly deformed, which give an impres ...more
Andrea Robyn
3.5/5 - a mandatory read for my English 30-1

This allegory is very obvious, which is a positive for young readers, but having to read it as a study in my high school courses I would have liked someone not targeted for children. And the allegory wasn't developed to the extent of its potential. The fact that rabbits reproduce at a rapid pace was the only meaning I could find behind the meaning of the Europeans being rabbits.

I also had a personal beef with the narration oversimplific view of every w
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
MCC Children's Li...: wow 1 1 Mar 01, 2012 06:02AM  
  • The Lost Thing
  • Fox
  • Memorial
  • My Place
  • Are We There Yet?: A Journey Around Australia
  • John Brown, Rose and the Midnight Cat (Picture Puffin)
  • The Short and Incredibly Happy Life of Riley
  • Michael Rosen's Sad Book
  • Mirror
  • The Little Refugee
  • Wolves
  • Diary of a Wombat
  • Unforgotten
  • Varmints
  • The Black Book of Colors
See also: John Marsden.

His first book, So Much To Tell You, was published in 1987. This was followed by Take My Word For It, a half-sequel written from the point of view of another character. His landmark Tomorrow series is recognized as the most popular book series for young adults ever written in Australia. The first book of this series, Tomorrow When The War Began, has been reprinted 26 times i
More about John Marsden...
Tomorrow, When the War Began (Tomorrow, #1) The Dead of Night (Tomorrow, #2) A Killing Frost (Tomorrow, #3) Darkness, Be My Friend (Tomorrow, #4) Burning For Revenge (Tomorrow, #5)

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »