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3.92  ·  Rating details ·  485 ratings  ·  113 reviews
Rabbit enjoys doing rabbity things, but he also loves un-rabbity things! When Rabbit suddenly disappears, no one knows where he has gone. His friends are desolate. But, as it turns out, Rabbit has left behind some very special gifts for them, to help them discover their own unrabbity talents!

This is a stunning debut picture book by author/illustrator Jo Empson. Rabbityness
Paperback, 32 pages
Published February 15th 2012 by Child's Play International
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Average rating 3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  485 ratings  ·  113 reviews

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Jan 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
As far as kids picture books go, this is probably the oddest one I've met so far... but also the most beautiful.

Most kids books are light and fun - playful - which makes sense.

Rabbityness ... has a very mature edge to it.

The story is about a rabbit who likes to do rabbity things (burrowing, eating, etc). He also likes doing un-rabbity things (art and music). The other rabbits love him for these unrabbity things, because he fills the woods with sound and colour.

Then one day... rabbit is gone.
Feb 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I think the front cover possibly undersells the contents. The art is pretty magical.

The themes of loss, self-discovery and inheritance are all well evoked in the story line... but where is Rabbit? Did he die? Why don't the other rabbits know? Did he leave them, to spread culture to other warrens?

I reckon the lack of answer to those questions is going to bother me for some time.
B.A. Wilson
Feb 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: death, picture-books
This may not be the perfect book for explaining death to a very young child, but it could be a good book to read as part of a collection of stories that help explain life, grief, and what we keep of the people who have left us.

It does not have a strong religious message, and most adults seem to find it touching. The message is beautiful. In fact, if you were reading to an audience of grief-stricken adults, this would probably be a good pick.

When it comes to reading it to a young child, though,
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Destinee Sutton
A simple, short story about a rabbit who enjoys "unrabbity" things like painting and music. When this special rabbit disappears, the other rabbits are sad, but they find that he has left them paints and instruments and they take up unrabbity hobbies themselves.

The art explodes off the page with energy and joy. I'm sure kids will wonder what happened to the extraordinary rabbit. Did he die or just go away? This ambiguity aside, the story proffers a hopeful message to those who have experienced
Erin Murray
This picture book was not what I was expecting at all. I thought it was going to be quite an innocent and naive children's book due to the vibrant illustration on the cover. However, I don't want to say I was deceived, but I think there is an underlying almost mature tone to the book.

The main character 'Rabbit' brings the other rabbits in the woods colour and music and then one day is gone. The abrupt exit of the character could ultimately lead children to question what happened to him and his
Apr 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful book.
Another award-winner, no surprise.
I really enjoyed this so much it has become one of my favorites.
And it is now on my list of great gift books for kids.
A chance to inspire creativity and some anthropological ideas in the kids' minds is a winner with me!
I originally wrote the above on April 19, 2017.
I want to add a note which escaped my mind on that day.
An interesting thing about this book was to see how differently the kids responded to death. In one classroom, when I
Ariel Cummins
Jan 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This book is a really interesting spin on the whole liking-something-different-but-that-makes-everybody-else-like-it-too-eventually trope (seriously guys, that's an official trope. I saw it on, um, the internet). Rabbit likes doing normal rabbit things, like jumping. But he also loves all kinds of other non-rabbity things. Like painting and making music! All the other rabbits love this about him. When Rabbit disappears mid-book, the other rabbits are sad. Eventually, though, they realize that ...more
Feb 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
But...where did rabbit go?

This was a fun picture book for children - it kept me interested ;) Full of colour.

It would have been fun as a pop-up book (or having tabs to make rabbit move) in sections as we have rabbit enjoying hopping and other rabbity things before moving onto painting and music.

Edward Sullivan
Jul 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books, art, music
A lovely, affecting story about loss and longevity.
Feb 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Loved the illustrations more than the story.
Connie T.
There once was a rabbit who did unrabbity things, like painting and making music. One day he disappears and the woods are boring again. When the other rabbits find his hole, with his paints and instruments, they now do unrabbity things and make the forest come alive. One presumes the rabbit died but he might also have gone on an adventure. This book can be used to discuss death and what we leave behind but ultimately it's a celebration of life.
Jul 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Fantastic and original artwork. The contrasts and colours are great for a young child. The story is fairly good probably lacks a bit of poignancy achieved by the likes of Oliver Jeffer's The Heart and the Bottle. I think that's because you don't see any of the other rabbits playing with Rabbit at the beginning part of the story (in The Heart and the Bottle the grandpa and grandchild are playing together).
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids-books, non-norm
I love almost everything about this book - the bright beautiful colors, the dynamic plot, the alterations between the end pages to show how the characters developed...
But what happened to the rabbit? I need to know.
Emma England
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It's a difficult book to read in many ways as it deals with the emotional side of grief, rather than trying to explain death away. For me personally it is something I occasionally read if I am needing a cathartic release for some reason.

The illustrations are stunning and the text beautiful.
Trisha Parsons
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: storytime
This is a fantastic book to help approach the topic of death and loss with a young kid. I honestly got goosebumps while reading it. This would be a great lap book, but it also worked great for Storytime. My kids loved the bunnies, and there was lots of opportunities for dialogic reading.
Jun 13, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story was meh, but I liked the message and the art.

The story is a little rhythmic, and several words that end in "ness." I could see this book being used for story time and adding a painting/art/music activity to go with it.
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids, death-and-dying
The pictures are nice. It’s not explicit about being about death, but it’s open and makes a good space for conversation.
Zoraida Rivera Morales
Feb 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This a lovely book about a difficult topic, death. It has few words and color adapted to the text. It's subtle and effective in showing the sadness, but also that happiness can be regained.
Lotte ten Hacken
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful book for young children about loss and grief. Amazing illustrations!
Mar 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Creativity and loss are explored in this simple book with beautiful illustrations.
Pat Mills
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Colour, creativity and spunk. Loved the joyful illustrations.
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A book celebrating the life and impact others have on our lives even when they are gone.
L.H. Johnson
I have several children's literature reading lists on my blog, one of which is titles which feature bereavement / grieving / loss. You can view the actual list here (and it's crowd-editable, so please feel free to add to it!). One of the titles which often crops up in talk of titles of this nature is Rabbityness.

And last night I read it and I tweeted this: "So I just read 'Rabbityness' by Jo Empson. Dear sweet God. *bawls at everything* *eats all the chocolate* *bawls some more* (It's amazing)"
Sadie Tucker
Mar 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Rabbit likes doing rabbit things, but he also likes to create art that enlivens the world around him. One day, rabbit disappears and his fellow rabbits are left bereft. What will they do without Rabbit’s art and music? This is a book that can be taken on a couple of levels. At its most basic, it is a (very) simple story about loss and the happiness that art and music brings to the world. On another level, which totally passed me by on first reading (thanks to my co-worker who pointed it out!), ...more
May 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pgce
I wrote this review as part of my Primary PGCE course.

I must admit that this is one of my absolutely favourite picture books, and that I bought a copy almost as soon as I started the course. I am yet to use it with children because it seems to be a book most suited to PSHE because of its central theme - bereavement. However, the book is about far more than loss - it's also about creativity and what makes every person special.

Rabbit enjoys doing both rabbity (hopping, jumping) and unrabbity
Kimberly Walton Mayden
Mar 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
This unique picture book by debut author, Jo Empson, focuses on individuality, creativity and loss. The story begins with silhouettes of a black rabbit partaking in “rabbity” activities such as hopping, sleeping and burrowing. Next, the pages come alive with color as rabbit starts doing some “unrabbity” things such as painting and making music.

Suddenly, the rabbit disappears into a “deep dark hole” and does not return. This may be confusing to some children, but can serve as a teachable moment
Uttam Singh
Jul 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I am in love with the illustrations in this book - extremely eye-catching and able to get the attention of even the most easily distracted children.

It is a very simple story of a special rabbit who is much like other rabbits in that he enjoys doing 'rabbity' things like hopping and eating, yet what makes him unique is his love for many wonderful 'unrabbity' things like painting and making music.
One day rabbit 'goes away', and leaves the rest of the rabbits and all of the wood feeling sad.
Christine Turner
Rabbit enjoys doing rabbity things, but he also loves un-rabbity things! When Rabbit suddenly disappears, no one knows where he has gone. His friends are desolate. But, as it turns out, Rabbit has left behind some very special gifts for them, to help them discover their own unrabbity talents! This is a stunning debut picture book by author/illustrator Jo Empson. Rabbityness celebrates individuality,encourages the creativity in everyone and positively introduces children to dealing with loss of ...more
Juliana Lee
This is a very special story about a rabbit who did rabbity things like hopping, burrowing, and washing his ears, but he also did unrabbity things like painting and making music. The other rabbits in the woods liked him for his unrabbity things. Then one day rabbit disappeared and the woods were quiet and gray again. The other rabbits were sad, but one day they found a deep dark hole where rabbit had left them all his paints and brushes and musical instruments. Little by little the other rabbits ...more
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