One Runaway Rabbit

Author: David Metzenthen

Illustrator: Mairead Murphy

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

ISBN: 9781760523558

The publisher says...

One pet rabbit. One dark night. One hungry fox. A wonderfully entertaining picture book about a clever pet rabbit on the run.

The author says...

Click on the icon below for a video of author David Metzenthen talking about writing One Runaway Rabbit.

Click on the icon below for a video of David Metzenthen's thoughts on his book being Shortlisted for 2020 CBCA Book of the Year: Early Childhood.

The illustrator says...

Being shortlisted is amazing and I'm still a bit blown away to be included. I'm relatively new to illustration and this is the first children's book I've illustrated so I was already feeling so lucky to work with David and the folk at Allen & Unwin. To have the book shortlisted is a huge honour!

I have two favourite pages. The first one is when the fox leaps out to catch Lulu. The shape of a leaping fox is such a fun, dynamic form. It also interrupts the relationship between the mouse and Lulu. The little mouse had been following Lulu along on her journey, becoming brave as he watched Lulu's plucky exploration. They'd just managed to meet and then the fox jumps out and all his bravery evaporates and he legs it out of there as fast as he can. Poor little fella.

The second one is the evening scene where Lulu is watching everyone get ready for bed. I love the really strong colours of the sunset and the streetscape. I was doing my Architecture Masters Thesis at the same time as illustrating the book so it was a lot of fun having a more creative outlet for the research I was doing.

Throughout the book, the quality of light was a really important aspect of the illustrations. It shows Lulu's movement around the neighbourhood and the passing of time. The first thing I did when I started to illustrate was map out Lulu's journey. These maps are shown on the end pages. By working out her path I was able to make sure the direction she was facing captured the sunrise and sunset and the journey including the street numbers was cohesive.

[In developing the illustrations], I used a combination of hand drawn and digital techniques. Each page began as a hand sketched storyboard. Because the text is so minimal the illustrations had to really elaborate on the story and character. The sketches became the base for digitally building up the backgrounds. Then each character was sketched and coloured individually and placed on the backdrop. Once it is in place I added lighting effects and shadow details to make it sit well in the scene.

The CBCA judges say...

The dark and moody front cover draws the reader into this book, while the back cover shows the same scene from behind the rabbit, which is clever and interesting. The sparse text combines with the illustrations to weave a tale of curiosity and adventure with a dash of humour and suspense. With no more than three words on a page, and some pages text free, young pre and beginning readers will delight in reading this story independently. The use of this repeated three-word structure makes the text highly effective and encourages young readers to use visual literacy and explore the illustrations, adding their own narrative elements to the story. The night setting provides an atmospheric backdrop, adding to the intrigue of a curious rabbit, Lulu, on a suburban adventure. The highly detailed pencil sketches (digitally coloured) are full double-page spreads to immerse the reader in Lulu's adventures, adding to the overall high-quality design of the book. The endpapers provide a bird's eye view of Lulu's journey giving the story a complete beginning and end.

Our Reading Time reviewers say...

Click here to read the Reading Time review

Teaching Notes for the book…

The publisher has generously made teaching resources available for this book. Click on the icon below to view these resources.