by Alex Latimer
Lion is the king, and something of a bully. He steals Hyena’s lunch monkey. He gives Buffalo a wedgie. Baboon puts an ad in the paper, looking for someone to put lion in his place. Bear and Moose and Tiger arrive on a plane, ready to challenge Lion, one by one. Lion wins, every time. Then comes Rabbit. Rabbit chooses his own contests (marshmallow eating, painting, trivia) and wins each one. Lion relents, agreeing to bully no more, and rabbit takes his leave. As his ship departs we learn that he is in fact a bunch of rabbits, chosen specifically for the individual contests. And, indeed, looking back through the book we see evidence of the subterfuge. For every rabbit competing there are other rabbits hiding, their ears or tails peeking out from behind rocks or hills or tall grasses. Droll details and comic characterizations add wild panache. The story’s skewed humor and buoyant charm delight on their own, but the regular opportunities for the listener to know just a little more than the protagonist elevate this outing from mere felicity to full-on fun.