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Friday, August 29, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 72.0° F  Partly Cloudy
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Kevin Henkes' latest, Little White Rabbit, gets inside a bunny's head
Hopping along

Kevin Henkes, Madison's Caldecott-winning children's author, is in fine form with his new picture book, Little White Rabbit (Greenwillow Books).

The narrative is not complicated: We meet our protagonist, the titular little white rabbit, as he is hopping along. He hops through some tall grass and wonders what it would be like to be green. He hops past some fir trees and wonders what it would be like to be tall. He hops past a rock and wonders what it would be like if he couldn't move.

And so on (although not on and on - the story is only about two dozen pages long), until a brief encounter with another, hungrier resident of the outdoors compels the rabbit to turn around and head for the loving embrace of mom.

The story is short and gentle, and draws its power from the organic but unexpected directions in which rabbit's imagination veers.

And, of course, from the illustrations: gray dandelion fluff dispersing with the breeze; the subtly befuddled expressions on the faces of a frog, turtle and some grasshoppers. Henkes puts a solemn vim into his pictures, a respectful energy, making it clear that even if these are just one little animal's adventures and dreams - well, to the rabbit, they're still a pretty big deal. Your own little ones will likely agree.

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