by Katherine Battersby
reviewed by Mia Macrossan
This story starts at the endpapers as all good picture books should with Squish Rabbit peeking out from behind a large egg. The opening sentence defines the scope of this story with an impressive statement: ‘Squish was a little rabbit but being little led to big dreams.’
Squish is desperate for a pet puppy and when he finds a lonely egg he looks after it in the hope that it will hatch into his desired companion. When his friend Twitch tells him that puppies don’t hatch from eggs he is faced with a dilemma. Squish may just be a little rabbit, but he is big enough to decide that he will love whatever comes out of the egg.
This deceptively simple story uses our desire for a companion pet to teach us about acceptance of difference. It could be said it is also an illustration of how life doesn’t always turn out to be what you expect. You may want something and work towards it but when life sends a curve ball, in this case a large, lonely mystery egg, you must adapt. All this in a little picture book – how wonderfully rich and satisfying.
The illustrations throughout are a delight. Squish bounces and pounces, he droops and slumps, with much of his emotion conveyed by his expressive ears. Each page zings with energy and colour. Battersby is an expert in the use of white space and where to use a black outline. My favourite spread is where Squish is sitting confidently on top of his large egg asking Twitch when his puppy will hatch, and poor Twitch has to tell him a fact of life. The body language is worth a thousand words.
This is the third instalment in the Squish Rabbit series. Before this there was Squish Rabbit and Brave Squish Rabbit. Long may Squish continue to bring delight to everyone. Teacher’s Notes
University of Queensland Press 2019 Hardback Picture Book $21.94 ISBN: 978 0 7022 6046 9