The Rabbit Listened
A universal, deeply moving exploration of grief and empathyWith its spare, poignant text and irresistibly sweet illustrations, The Rabbit Listened is a tender meditation on loss.When something terrible happens, Taylor doesn't know where to turn. All the animals are sure they have the answer. The chicken wants to talk it out, but Taylor doesn't feel like chatting. The bear thinks Taylor should get angry, but that's not quite right either. One by one, the animals try to tell Taylor how to process this loss, and one by one they fail. Then the rabbit arrives. All the rabbit does is listen, which is just what Taylor needs.Whether read in the wake of tragedy or as a primer for comforting others, this is a deeply moving and unforgettable story sure to soothe heartache of all sizes.

The Rabbit Listened Details

TitleThe Rabbit Listened
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 20th, 2018
PublisherDial Books
ISBN-139780735229358
Rating
GenreChildrens, Picture Books, Animals, Storytime, Fiction, Rabbits, Death, Juvenile, Parenting, Kids

The Rabbit Listened Review

  • David Schaafsma
    January 1, 1970
    Each year my family reads all the Goodreads-award-nominated picture books, and we have been doing this for years. Everyone rates each book and adds a comment and it may (or may not) affect my overall rating. This is book #6 of 2018. This is rare this year in that we all agree on the rating! Whoa!Lyra (11): 4 stars. You don't have to say anything to mean a lot. Just listen.Hank (12): 4 stars! . . . [Hank here is not saying anything and just listening to the book.]Harry (13): 4 stars. It shows tha Each year my family reads all the Goodreads-award-nominated picture books, and we have been doing this for years. Everyone rates each book and adds a comment and it may (or may not) affect my overall rating. This is book #6 of 2018. This is rare this year in that we all agree on the rating! Whoa!Lyra (11): 4 stars. You don't have to say anything to mean a lot. Just listen.Hank (12): 4 stars! . . . [Hank here is not saying anything and just listening to the book.]Harry (13): 4 stars. It shows that sometimes what a person needs most is for someone just to listen.Tara: 4 stars. Don't push kids to feel a certain way, or to "just get over it," but let them work it out on their own. A good message.Dave: 4 stars. Asserts the importance of listening to kids (which reminds me of a seventies book, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, which gives the same advice to a man to try not solve a problem that a woman shares with him. Shut up and just listen sometimes, man! {i'm trying to learn this. . .]
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  • Betsy
    January 1, 1970
    Lest we forget, the only reason that children’s books were invented in the first place was to teach small human lessons. That is, in fact, the very backbone of the book business for youth today. Instruction. Guidance. Morally uplifting texts that will mold the little readers into fine, upstanding citizens. And because books like Little Goody Two-Shoes lie at the root of everything published in our day and age, we aren’t surprised by picture books that seek to instruct. These days, it's funny to Lest we forget, the only reason that children’s books were invented in the first place was to teach small human lessons. That is, in fact, the very backbone of the book business for youth today. Instruction. Guidance. Morally uplifting texts that will mold the little readers into fine, upstanding citizens. And because books like Little Goody Two-Shoes lie at the root of everything published in our day and age, we aren’t surprised by picture books that seek to instruct. These days, it's funny to think that picture books do not solely instruct just the young anymore. I doubt very much that old Benjamin Harris could have foreseen the rise of the graduation gift picture book or the books kept in a psychiatrist’s office for the aid of his or her adult patients. As it turns out, children are not the only ones in need of instruction these days. I call these kinds of books “Message Books” and each year I collect the names of the ones that do their jobs well. Anyone can write a book that crams its morals down the throats of its young readers. It is far more interesting to look at books that integrate their message seamlessly within their stories. The best make it look effortless and easy. My latest favorite? The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld. A book that makes me grateful to think that adults reading this book to small children will pick up on some of what it’s laying down.For a second there, it was a most magnificent thing. Taylor had worked very hard, building the blocks into just the right configuration. Who wouldn’t have been proud? And who could have predicted the flock of blackbirds that swooped out of the sky, knocking it all down? Suddenly left with nothing, Taylor is devastated. One by one, animals notice the child’s misery and try to help. A chicken recommends talking about it. A bear says to scream out anger. A hyena says to laugh about it. Yet as Taylor rejects their advice they leave, and the kid is alone again. Only the rabbit, quiet and close, stays with Taylor and listens. And when, after Taylor has talked, and screamed, and laughed, and gone through every step of the process, only then does Taylor think about rebuilding once again.One of the big trends of this and last year are picture books that tackle bad things happening in the wider world. Come With Me by Holly McGhee, Breaking News by Sarah Lynne Reul, and Something Happened In Our Town by Marianne Celano all seek to comfort and guide in hard times. What sets The Rabbit Listened apart is its universality. The event that leads to Taylor’s misery is an out-of-the-blue disaster that strikes without warning or reason. And just like that, you have a book that can be applied to broad disasters like hurricanes, school shootings, or terrorist attacks or personal ones like the death of a loved one. Even the name “Taylor” could be applied to either a boy or a girl, and Doerrfeld is in no hurry to clear up precisely on which side of the line the child lies.I don’t actually recommend children’s books to adults unless that person has given me some serious prompting. But when I encountered a friend’s grief not too long ago, I recommended this one. My friend had been talking about the different ways in which people respond when someone they care about has experienced a deep loss. Doerrfeld herself has said in interviews that she wrote this book when two friends of hers lost a child. As a rule, humans don’t like to feel helpless in the face of impossible emotions. In our nervousness to just do SOMETHING we do everything the animals in this book do. We encourage the grieving person to scream, cry, talk it out, etc. and when they don’t we leave in exasperation (and possibly relief). For many of us, the idea of just being there when needed and not interjecting with our own “helpful” advice is actually very difficult. There are a few times in your life when the advice to shut up and listen bears careful consideration. This is one of those times.Digital art is just too much for me these days. We crossed the uncanny valley and have ended up on the other side, where digitization is no longer immediately recognizable. With a gun placed to my head I would have told you with confidence that the art in this book was graphite and watercolors. Not so. Putting aside the hows then, let’s look at the ways in which Doerrfeld approaches this material. Generally speaking, everything is placed against a pure white background. The danger of this is that it could feel like an Apple commercial, so scenes are broken up beautifully. In three sequences the background is lavender. One of those scenes is tragic, two are inspiring. At first, following the moment of the disaster, Taylor is sequestered to the left-hand page. Characters enter from the right, which is fascinating since I’d always heard that picture book editors hate it when characters walk into a scene in a way that’s the opposite of the page turns. Then again, it’s possible this is done on purpose because it gives the reader an unconscious feeling that something isn’t quite right with the scene. But through it all, the white background has been a wonderful way of showing how alone Taylor feels through all of this. Just a small child in a big empty space where once there was something wonderful.Listening is very in these days. I guess we haven’t been doing much of it for a while. We might hear a lot of things, but we don’t always listen. Some people are very good listeners. So good, in fact, that we forget to ask them about their own lives as well. In a way, The Rabbit Listened is a celebration of these people. The folks that selflessly put away their own egos and opinions and advice to help other people. In the end I don’t know if I’d rather give this book to the people who do listen, in thanks for all they do, or to the people that never listen, in the hopes that they will. Maybe both. Or maybe I should just give the book to its chosen audience. Because the more children that understand the value of listening when tragedy has occurred, the more they’ll hear, and learn, and comprehend, and empathize. And isn’t that, in the end, what the best picture books do?
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  • Calista
    January 1, 1970
    "Sometimes hugs say more than words" adorn the back cover of the book. This book is about grief. Several animals tried to help the child and the child didn't need that at the time. As the title says, the rabbit listened, which is what the child needed most. The rabbit was willing to stay in that place of grief with the child. I loved this book and it is powerful with a great message. It really is. It is talking about how to deal with emotions that are painful.The nephew liked all the animals tha "Sometimes hugs say more than words" adorn the back cover of the book. This book is about grief. Several animals tried to help the child and the child didn't need that at the time. As the title says, the rabbit listened, which is what the child needed most. The rabbit was willing to stay in that place of grief with the child. I loved this book and it is powerful with a great message. It really is. It is talking about how to deal with emotions that are painful.The nephew liked all the animals that showed up, especially the snake.
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  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    A simply perfect story of loss, grief, and empathy. Children can understand the falling of a block castle as a literal event, or a metaphorical one. The reactions of the various animals are a perfect jumping-off point for discussing how to react (or not react!) to those going through a loss. Have tissues handy. Bonus: main character Taylor's gender is not specified, either with pronouns in the text or coding in the illustrations. This adds to the book's universality.
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  • Julie
    January 1, 1970
    I found this book profoundly moving. The action of coming alongside and being still and quiet, offering reassurance by being present is beautifully illustrated.
  • Mrs. Krajewski
    January 1, 1970
    A review from my 6-year-old daughter: “I liked it! No one tells you how to feel. They don’t know how you feel inside unless you listen to them. My favorite character was the rabbit and Taylor because the rabbit listened to Taylor so much! I love Taylor because Taylor made such cool castles!”
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  • Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
    January 1, 1970
    A boy builds an amazing structure out of blocks only to have it destroyed by a group of birds. Many different animals come to try to comfort him and they all offer suggestions as to how to fix things. But it is only the rabbit who provides true comfort by listening to the boy’s story and sitting quietly with him as the boy himself comes up with a solution.An ideal story for counselors or teachers to share with students or for parents to read with their children at home.
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  • Allie
    January 1, 1970
    An excellent addition to the ever-growing shelf of picture books dealing with emotional literacy. This book is about Taylor who makes a tower that gets knocked down, and the parade of animals that try and help. There are so many ways that people try to help and so many ways we deal with difficulty, and it is imperative that we give children the tools to deal with their emotions in a variety of ways. I think this book would be an excellent opportunity to talk with a child about the emotions of ev An excellent addition to the ever-growing shelf of picture books dealing with emotional literacy. This book is about Taylor who makes a tower that gets knocked down, and the parade of animals that try and help. There are so many ways that people try to help and so many ways we deal with difficulty, and it is imperative that we give children the tools to deal with their emotions in a variety of ways. I think this book would be an excellent opportunity to talk with a child about the emotions of every character on each page (you can divide it, i.e. the child can be Taylor and the grown-up can be the animals; or it can be an ongoing conversation about all the characters). You could even incorporate a feelings wheel (like this, this or this DIY one) to help kids with identifying emotions while reading and beyond. ALSO this book is extremely well-written and edited because the child has a gender-neutral name, illustrated in a non-gendered way, and is never referred to using a pronoun. To do that and never have it sound repetitive or awkward is a real feat. Not only does it not sound awkward (low bar alert), but it sounds beautiful and effortless and avoids so many of the pitfalls of typical feelings books.
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  • Danielle
    January 1, 1970
    An original take on coping with something bad happening—a nice blend of realism and not. Inspires readers to be like the rabbit, and to listen.
  • Pamela
    January 1, 1970
    Oh the joys of attempting to quell a toddler's meltdown; hence, nigh as improbable as finding a needle in a haystack or a working payphone. It seems the harder one tries to soothe a little tike like Taylor - after their proudly built block tower comes crashing down - the more sullied and obstinate they become.But . . . The Rabbit Listened. And the Rabbit knew, patience is more than just a vuirtue. It's a quiet friend that waits until you're ready to begin again.Delightful artwork. Imaginative. S Oh the joys of attempting to quell a toddler's meltdown; hence, nigh as improbable as finding a needle in a haystack or a working payphone. It seems the harder one tries to soothe a little tike like Taylor - after their proudly built block tower comes crashing down - the more sullied and obstinate they become.But . . . The Rabbit Listened. And the Rabbit knew, patience is more than just a vuirtue. It's a quiet friend that waits until you're ready to begin again.Delightful artwork. Imaginative. Subtly bold. Splendid story for sharing with fiercely independent toddlers - which is primarily all toddlers.FOUR **** Fun and Imaginative, Bold and Virtuous, Picture Book **** STARS
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  • Michele Knott
    January 1, 1970
    Powerful book. I love how this one shows many different ways we can react to something and how sometimes we need to go through all of the emotions.
  • Ms. Shoshana
    January 1, 1970
    Taylor builds something out of blocks and is sad when it comes down. None of the animals are helping - their coping strategies aren't Taylor's. Finally though, when Taylor is ready to talk, the rabbit listens and eventually Taylor is ready to rebuild. This is a simple and sweet story about overcoming something sad.I also liked that Taylor's gender is never mentioned or indicated by the illustrations.
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  • Zephyrus White
    January 1, 1970
    How could I not pick up this book? My niece has a stuffed bunny to whom she tells stories as she's falling asleep. But that personal connection aside this book is wonderful. A beutiful simple story of empathy, support, and connection; this book teaches how profound the simple act of listening can be in an absolutely exquisite way. Simple, profound, beautiful.I did almost docked it a star for making me cry in the bookstore, but I'm gonna let that slide.
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  • Aliza Werner
    January 1, 1970
    A beautiful and heartfelt book that shows the power of a quiet, thoughtful listener. When Taylor wanted to experience grief, anger, and various stages of coping, the rabbit was steadfast in patience, waiting, and listening. I particularly love that the MC Taylor is androgynous, with no pronouns that determine Taylor as male or female, so Taylor can be who you want Taylor to be.
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  • emma
    January 1, 1970
    i’m not going to lie. i cried a lil bit the first time i read it. i cried a lil bit the second. i took pictures to send to my friend, and i facetimed my other best friend just to read it to him and say YOURE MY RABBIT! we both tear up a lil too much when we are soft. sigh.
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  • Linda Quinn
    January 1, 1970
    This adorable picture book is a gentle way to teach a young child, and remind the rest of us, that sometimes all we need is someone to listen.
  • Garrett
    January 1, 1970
    This little girl had to go through the seven stages of grief at a very young age.
  • Kelsey
    January 1, 1970
    Sometimes we just can’t “fix” things for others. It’s during those times that the best thing you can do is just be there and listen.
  • Amy!
    January 1, 1970
    A super sweet book about how to help a friend in a tough time. I also really like that Doerrfeld doesn't use any pronouns, so families can choose for themselves whether or not Taylor is a boy or a girl.
  • Allison Wysong
    January 1, 1970
    Very sweet. I love it and it's message.
  • Molly
    January 1, 1970
    This is so, so excellent- what a great book for kids (and adults) about empathy and being there for a person instead of trying to fix them. Any adult reading this for a child will identify with one of the animals, and I think it is rarely the rabbit. This should be a new classic.
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  • Paul Hankins
    January 1, 1970
    This book will find its place within our collection of Tough Stuff and Grief titles in the classroom.
  • Arminzerella
    January 1, 1970
    Taylor builds something amazing out of blocks and is devastated when his creation gets destroyed. A whole parade of animals tries to help him feel better, but Taylor doesn't want their advice or suggestions. Finally, rabbit comes and sits quietly next to him. And after awhile, Taylor asks rabbit to stay. Rabbit does, and Taylor tells him all about what he made and how he felt when it was destroyed. Rabbit listens without commenting or suggesting or judging. When Taylor is finished, he shares his Taylor builds something amazing out of blocks and is devastated when his creation gets destroyed. A whole parade of animals tries to help him feel better, but Taylor doesn't want their advice or suggestions. Finally, rabbit comes and sits quietly next to him. And after awhile, Taylor asks rabbit to stay. Rabbit does, and Taylor tells him all about what he made and how he felt when it was destroyed. Rabbit listens without commenting or suggesting or judging. When Taylor is finished, he shares his plans for what he's going to build next. And the rabbit listens to those, too. Support can be offered in many ways, and sometimes what we need is someone to listen instead of someone to fix or solve or one-up our problems. This book illustrates how quiet, but sincere listening can be helpful. I love that it's the rabbit who ends up being exactly what's needed, as rabbits are naturally quiet. My pet rabbits often comfort me just by being near (and other times they're like the other animals in this book - in my face and making all sorts of demands!). :) This is a nice introduction to an important topic - how to be a good listener, how to help someone who is hurting even if you can't think of anything to say (how sometimes that's the best response).
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  • EricaEreads
    January 1, 1970
    It's rare to come across a picture book that so effectively teaches to both parents and kids, but this one does it wonderfully. Taylor (a gender and ethnicity neutral character) builds a spectacular castle, only to have it suddenly destroyed. Various animals approach and try to their characteristic methods (a chicken wants to cluck-cluck and talk all about it, a bear wants to growl and scream, etc) to cheer up the devastated child, but Taylor stays still and quiet until they all give up and leav It's rare to come across a picture book that so effectively teaches to both parents and kids, but this one does it wonderfully. Taylor (a gender and ethnicity neutral character) builds a spectacular castle, only to have it suddenly destroyed. Various animals approach and try to their characteristic methods (a chicken wants to cluck-cluck and talk all about it, a bear wants to growl and scream, etc) to cheer up the devastated child, but Taylor stays still and quiet until they all give up and leave. But (finally) Rabbit comes, waits, and listens, teaching the reader a lesson in emotional intelligence and empathy that isn't forced or preachy. I highly recommend for classrooms and libraries, and for "feelings" storytimes for older kids to open up discussions about the varied ways we exhibit and process our emotions.
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  • Kelsey
    January 1, 1970
    Age: Toddler-1st gradeAnimals: Rabbit, variety of othersEmotion: The roller coaster accompanied with seeing a creation destroyedTaylor is so proud of his block tower and is utterly defeated when it all comes crashing down. Several animals come to "help" but Taylor finds no comfort in talking, shouting, remembering, laughing, hiding, throwing it all away, or ruining someone else's creation. After being left alone, a cuddly little quiet bunny hops in and stays to listen to Taylor--which is just wh Age: Toddler-1st gradeAnimals: Rabbit, variety of othersEmotion: The roller coaster accompanied with seeing a creation destroyedTaylor is so proud of his block tower and is utterly defeated when it all comes crashing down. Several animals come to "help" but Taylor finds no comfort in talking, shouting, remembering, laughing, hiding, throwing it all away, or ruining someone else's creation. After being left alone, a cuddly little quiet bunny hops in and stays to listen to Taylor--which is just what he needs.The way that Doerrfeld parallels the animal behavior with Taylor's actual thoughts is refreshingly original. A great addition to storytimes and lessons on kindness and being a friend.
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  • Jillian Heise
    January 1, 1970
    Tears. A new favorite picture book. I want to gift this to every teacher I know & hold it close to my heart & go read it to my kinders immediately. A sweet book, that will make them giggle, but also help them see the emotions they go through are valid and show ways to deal with those feelings and support friends is a must for libraries and classrooms. May all of us be that rabbit for the little humans (and big ones, too) in our lives, and may we all remember this when our patience wears Tears. A new favorite picture book. I want to gift this to every teacher I know & hold it close to my heart & go read it to my kinders immediately. A sweet book, that will make them giggle, but also help them see the emotions they go through are valid and show ways to deal with those feelings and support friends is a must for libraries and classrooms. May all of us be that rabbit for the little humans (and big ones, too) in our lives, and may we all remember this when our patience wears thin in our classrooms.
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  • Erin
    January 1, 1970
    There are so many reason why I love this book. The main character is named Taylor who could be any gender. The look they picked for the child could be any race. The other characters who interact with Taylor are animals which are not associated with any particular culture. Taylor plays with blocks which are very basic toys that can be found all over the world. Lots of different solutions are offered to help with Taylor's problem. Taylor picks the one that works best for Taylor regardless of what There are so many reason why I love this book. The main character is named Taylor who could be any gender. The look they picked for the child could be any race. The other characters who interact with Taylor are animals which are not associated with any particular culture. Taylor plays with blocks which are very basic toys that can be found all over the world. Lots of different solutions are offered to help with Taylor's problem. Taylor picks the one that works best for Taylor regardless of what the animals think should work for everyone. Good for preschool and toddler storytimes.
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  • Ellen
    January 1, 1970
    Sometimes all you need is someone who listens. What a wonderful book to share with young kids (and big kids)! I love this book and its reminder that it’s okay to feel different emotions through heartache.
  • Beth
    January 1, 1970
    A beautiful, simple story about what people need when they are grieving or going through trauma. They don't need people to give them advice or tell them what to do: they just need someone to sit beside them and listen when they're ready to talk.
  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    This book arrived in my life at the perfect time! It is so tender with a great message without being preachy. Made me grateful for all the ‘rabbits’ in my life and just might have motivated me to pick up my blocks and start over.
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