Little Rabbit’s Big Surprise by Swapna Haddow & Alison Friend

Little Rabbit’s Big Surprise is a gorgeously illustrated first reader with a sturdy hardback cover. It’s such a wonderful little book for bridging the gap between longer picture books and early chapter books and the size and the design give it a really ‘grown up’ look – it’s the kind of book that can give a new reader a huge burst of confidence as they transition to longer texts. I would have loved a book like this as a young child 🙂

The Story: Little Rabbit is bored so Big Rabbit takes her with him to work. They visit various woodland animals, many of whom have problems that need solving, and the rabbits help where they can. Next day Big Rabbit asks Little Rabbit to collect three important things for him. Little Rabbit hopes that they will be used to make her a kite but then discovers that they will be used for something even better!

Big Rabbit is Little Rabbit’s grandfather and Little Rabbit is surprised to find out that Big Rabbit ‘works’. During the course of the day they meet the Mole family, a dormouse family who are moving house and Granny Hedgehog, who is suffering from a cold, and Squirrel who has had an accident.

Kindness and caring is a feature of the story and Big Rabbit is a great role model for Little Rabbit who learns that helping others also has a positive effect on her. By the end of the story she has come up with several ideas to help the animals with their problems.

Alison Friend’s watercolour illustrations are absolutely beautiful and complement the gentle text. They are printed on gorgeous shiny paper and use natural earthy colours which are perfect for the woodland scenes. It’s really difficult to choose favourite pictures – we love the illustrations showing Little Rabbit’s family busy in their burrow at the beginning of the story and my daughter loves the picture of the baby squirrels, especially the squirrel with the teddy bear! The endpapers are fabulous too – they’re full of deliciously fat carrots on a cream background 🙂

Little Rabbit’s Big Surprise would make a fabulous addition to an Early Years / Key Stage One classroom book box or a home library. It isn’t a chapter book, the story is written in small chunks of text on each page which makes it less daunting for a reluctant or less confident reader. Children could be encouraged to share reading the story aloud with a friend or an adult. It’s also a lovely gentle story for younger readers and can stimulate discussions about being kind and helping others.

Age Range: 4 +

Author: Swapna Haddow / Illustrator: Alison Friend

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Thank you to Stripes Publishing for sending Little Rabbit’s Big Surprise. We think this book brilliantly bridges the gap between picture books and early chapter books.

26 thoughts on “Little Rabbit’s Big Surprise by Swapna Haddow & Alison Friend

  1. What a lovely book. Any story that encourages kindness is a winner to me. I think animals make fab characters in children’s books. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing with #MMBC.

  2. This sounds a gorgeous book. I always expect animal books to be cute, but at the moment my son is reading a squirrel story which just seems too dark imo for a children’s book. #readwithme

  3. Oh how I love this book! So cute and filling a gap in the market between picture books and chapter books with something stylish and full of story unlike so many of the others for this age group in the past! #readwithme

  4. Oh the cover illustration is beautiful – I love that style in books, it really brings the story to life! My 7yo (now almost 8) was a reluctant reader and even though he is now capable of reading more ‘grown up’ books, this style is actually still his favourite to pick up by himself when he wants to read at bed time.

  5. I saw this being given away on the Toppsta website and was tempted but my eldest is too old for it and youngest is too young. I’m looking forward to getting it when he’s older though, it sounds just lovely! #readwithme

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