The Rabbit Listened has a lot of the things I dislike in a book: sparse text and illustrations. However, this time, they fit the theme perfectly. The theme is a young child, Taylor, does not know how to proceed with dealing with their feelings when something bad happens. But all his animal friends know how to handle it. Yet, nothing really fits until the rabbit has the perfect solution. Rabbit listens.
The sparseness of the text and art is just that: listening. You do not need the distractions of a lot of “other” happening when all you need is some bunny to listen to you. The animals represent the emotions a child could go through when dealing with an issue, without saying things like, “The sneaky, mean snake wanted to knock down someone’s tower” thinking that might help Taylor feel better. Cori Doerrfeld just says the snake says, “knock it down too” and you, the reader, interpret that the feeling probably is being angry or being mad enough to want someone else to hurt, too. Yet, the young child will just see a story going along as stories should.
This book could be used for a loss in a young child’s life. Or one that might be dealing with their own emotions (perhaps they are acting out). It is a particularly modern interpretation of how to deal with emotions, yet not overly preachy as many moral books can be. The moral is obvious to the adult, but is subtler to the child.