Return to Great Books for Kids Reviewed by Michelle Marcotte on YouTube

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Hi Canadians. Here is an link to buy this book or do other shopping.


So, please go to the Amazon store that delivers to our region. If you do, you won't pay a penny more, the author won't earn a penny more and I will earn a few pennies to buy more books to review! Thank you!


Some regions of our world have myths about how babies are delivered. You have heard the German myth of storks delivering babies. Well, in historical French mythology babies come in cabbages. My mother used to coo to my children by saying ‘Mon petit chou’, which means, My little cabbage. I did not know why she did that. But now, having read Jessica Vitalis’ marvelous story, The Rabbit’s Gift, I know.


Jessica has imagined a world where giant rabbits deliver babies in cabbages. To simplify her wonderfully imagined world, people who want a new baby leave a particular kind of purple carrot out for the rabbits. The rabbits need the purple carrots as their main food source. So, they raise babies in cabbages and deliver them to the doorstep and take the purple carrots as payment. The rabbits live in a part of the countryside that is usually inaccessible to humans.  


All is well in this symbiotic relationship until drought reduces the carrot harvest and the rabbits are starving. We are told the story by two narrators, both of whom have opposing intentions. 


Quincy is a rabbit whose family is going hungry because there aren’t enough purple carrots. He intends to steal some purple carrot seeds and grow them to feed his community. This requires he evade the rabbit’s laws and enter to realm of the humans to steal some purple carrots.


Fleurine is a girl whose mother is the leader of the country. Fleurine’s mother strictly controls Fleurine because she wants her to follow in her footsteps. But, Fleurine wants to be a scientist, even though there are no schools of science and anyway, it is strictly forbidden for girls to learn science. So Fleurine wants a baby sister who will take her place as future leader while she studies botany. She intends to steal an immature cabbage and take care of it until the baby inside is ready to be born. This requires her to evade the human’s laws, enter the realm of the giant rabbits and steal an immature baby in a cabbage.


In The Rabbit’s Gift, we see these crimes from two different perspectives. We ponder ethics and the stubbornness of politicians from a few different perspectives. Who is the villain here? Why can’t the two sides of this realm realize they need each other and help each other? 


The way Jessica Vitalis resolves these problems makes for a wonderful, and oddly believable story and a few good lessons for the reader. Although written for a good senior middle grade reader to the young adult range (age 12-17), I read this book with much interest. It is a layered story, a myth that can be read by adults too.


Jessica Vitalis is an American expat living in Ontario Canada. It is a measure of her adaptation to Canada that this book seems to be set in a French-speaking country of not too long ago, complete with French names and some French cultural attributes. I say Brava to Jessica and I hope this book is translated into French.