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The Rabbits

4.27  ·  Rating Details ·  2,877 Ratings  ·  241 Reviews
Uses rabbits, a species introduced to Australia, to represent an allegory of the arrival of Europeans in Australia and the widespread environmental destruction caused by man throughout the continent.
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 15th 2003 by Simply Read Books (first published 1998)
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Apr 03, 2017 Mischenko rated it it was amazing
The Rabbits by John Marsden and Shaun Tan is a book about environmental issues created by man.

After reading The Arrival we quickly became hooked on Shaun Tan's draftmanship. It's amazing how a book with very few words and mainly illustrations can send such a powerful message that will leave you pondering.

This story by John Marsden paired with Shaun Tan's visually stimulating illustrations makes this one that will stay with me forever. I thoroughly enjoyed talking and brainstorming with childr
Jan 31, 2013 Manny rated it really liked it

We are a plague species. Using his unique, beautiful visual language, Tan explains just what that means.
Nov 28, 2007 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
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.

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
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
Dec 19, 2008 Adam rated it did not like it
Shelves: evil-kids-books
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
Nov 09, 2015 Lisa rated it it was amazing
Finally! I've been trying to get hold of this book for ages.
It came in to the library today, so I sat down and read it. And re-read it. And read it again.
How amazing, all of these children's books that are written these days, designed to teach kids about unpleasant things in a less abrasive way.
The Rabbits is about colonization. The Rabbits are the English, arriving in Australia and making life hell for the native Australian animals. It's great.
I'm ashamed to say that I knew very little about th
Aug 31, 2008 Relyn rated it did not like it
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!
Dec 06, 2015 Madison rated it really liked it
I read this for school and found it to be very interesting and engaging(although it is short). I especially loved the art work I thought it was quite phenomenal. It was an interesting way to show Australias history regarding the British settlers and the native aboriginals.
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
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
Anne Hamilton
Feb 08, 2014 Anne Hamilton rated it really liked it
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
Thanaa Khawaja
Jan 20, 2016 Thanaa Khawaja rated it it was amazing
لا يسعني أن أقول إلا أنه من أجود وأفخم الأعمال الأدبية الموجهة للأطفال، رغم أنني مقتنعة تماماً أن الكتاب ليس للأطفال فقط فرسوماته على وجه التحديد تصيبك بالسكر لشدة جمالها :)
في طفولتي قرأت الكثير والكثير من كتب الأطفال، ورواية الأخوان هي المحببة لقلبي. لكن منذ تعرفت على "شون" تغيَّر كل شيء! هذه هي القصص التي أود لأطفالي أن يكبروا وهم يقرؤونها.
قصة الأرانب تتحدث عن المستعمرين الأوروبيين الذين جاؤوا ليعيثوا الخراب في أستراليا والأمريكيتين وغيرها من دول العالم.

Donald Armfield
"Who will save us from the Rabbits?"
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
Apr 21, 2015 Marta rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 27, 2012 Aleeshas2 rated it it was amazing
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)
May 08, 2012 Kelly H. (Maybedog) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: how-picture-book
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.
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.
Apr 14, 2017 Celil rated it really liked it
Her nasılsa The Arrival'in gölgesinde kalmış bir iş. Kesinlikle çok daha etkileyici bir hikayesi vardı. Neden üzerine gidilmemiş, neden başka başka hikayelerle devam edilmemiş, bilemiyorum. Benim en beğendiğim çizimleri bu kısa kitaptadır. Mesela bir kısa film marifetiyle çok daha tanınır bir eser olabilirmiş.

Paul Grose
Jul 13, 2017 Paul Grose rated it it was amazing
One great book.
Bethany North
Nov 24, 2015 Bethany North rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Rabbits by John Marsden and Shaun Tan is a picture book about colonisation of Australia by England. It depicts how the English (the rabbits) travelled overseas and invaded Australia. The book portrays the destructive nature of the invasion and its implications on the indigenous people. Not having an in depth understanding of this particular event meant that I initially read it and interpreted it as a story general to humanity and immigration as a whole. I feel that after uncovering the histo ...more
Emma Hugo
Nov 24, 2015 Emma Hugo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Rabbits by John Marsden and Shaun Tan is a picture book about the colonisation of Australia by England. It depicts how the English or the rabbits travelled overseas and invaded Australia. The book portrays the destructive impact of the colonisation on the indigenous people. Not having an in depth understanding of this particular event meant that I initially read it and interpreted ithe story general to humanity and immigration as a whole. I feel that understanding the actual context brings f ...more
Agnieszka Cłapka
Apr 21, 2015 Agnieszka Cłapka rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
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
Lorenzo Basile
Aug 29, 2016 Lorenzo Basile rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
How do I start this?

At first, it's like a picture book - yeah - it is. Considering I studied this in English, and had to create a picture book assignment after this, learning to apply an allegory to your story, I realised how amazing it was. It's absolutely incredible how a story can have so many symbols and morals.

I must sincerely applaud Mr. Tan for his perfect images. Highly acclaimed for his uncanny, yet powerful "The Arrival." Considering the words were written by John Marsden, which if y
Nov 28, 2015 Emkoshka rated it it was ok
This was performed as an opera at my workplace during the Melbourne Festival and I was lucky enough to meet John Marsden and his mother and tell them both how I'd loved his books when I was growing up. The only thing that would have made the encounter perfect would've been Shaun Tan in attendance too! The book is a good way to introduce kids to the history of the British invasion of Australia and subsequent oppression of the indigenous people as told through an allegory involving rabbits and tre ...more
Randie D. Camp, M.S.
Apr 04, 2012 Randie D. Camp, M.S. rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Shaun Tan's artwork is amazingly complicated with likely several layers of meanings and depth. Tan's art paired with Marsden's text tells the story of a country full of nature and beauty...until it is invaded by rabbits. The rabbits use weapons and war to take over the beautiful country and turn it into a technology-driven place that kills the earth, leaving it bare and colorless. Marsden asks his readers: Who will save us from the rabbits? I believe he really means: Who will save us from oursel ...more
Annabel Hall
The illustrations in this book cleverly imitate the progression of the characters and their journey. At the beginning there is a sense of curiosity about the 'newcomers' and Marsden distinctly mentions their differences in lifestyle. It reflects the older generation as wary and unaccepting of new people. The book progresses to show conflict and war representing the colonisation of the land.

I understand that this would be a particularly beneficial picturebook to use with older children or more a
Jan 17, 2015 Molly rated it really liked it
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.
Abi Reynolds
Nov 02, 2016 Abi Reynolds rated it it was amazing
Knowing the history of Australia and the feelings of the indigenous people about how they were treated, this book is well written and one that will help explain the situation to children. Using rabbits is a clever play on the fact that rabbits themselves are considered pests in Australia and survive the different attempts to reduce the numbers.
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MCC Children's Li...: wow 1 1 Mar 01, 2012 06:02AM  
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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...

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