Kids Lit Special: Emily Gravett, The Rabbit Problem (2009)

I owe Pete from Couchtrip a lot because he was the first to mention Emily Gravett as a kids lit favorite back in the days (when his first daughter was not even 1, and now he’s expecting a second one… crazy!).

I ran to the bookshop to get her dragon book “Again” and my son bursts into hysterical laughter each and every time I read it aloud to him (can’t wait to try on my second baby boy).

That’s how I became a Gravett-fan. (please join the club! obviously she has a Facebook page!)

The Rabbit problem is about as hysterical as Again, which is no mean feat.

The success of Again was based on… repetitions (and deviations from them), the Rabbit problem is based on repetitions and multiplications.

As you can guess, rabbits are good at… well, having babies and crowding a field in no time. They are obsessed with… well, having babies, and eating carrots. Going from one single rabbit alone in his field to a huge crowd is only a matter of months, and Emily Gravett present the (hilarious) headcount for each month, with visual surprises at each page.

As soon as a kid is comfortable with numbers, s/he can enjoy this, but it is better to have a good grasp of the calendar months as well.

What I love most about Gravett’s books is that she knows how to appeal to parents as much as kids. Really it’s as fun for me to read it aloud and look at all the surprises, snuggled up on the couch with my son, as it is for him. There are tongue-in-cheek allusions and quite clever ones too. For example, the lonely rabbit who soon finds a fiancée lives in the Fibonacci field… I have never studied maths in depth, but I soon headed to wikipedia for a refresher course (ahem, beginner’s actually) on Fibonacci.

Before getting truly scary with formulas, the wikipedia page informs me that:

In the West, the Fibonacci sequence first appears in the book Liber Abaci (1202) by Leonardo of Pisa, known as Fibonacci.[4]Fibonacci considers the growth of an idealized (biologically unrealistic) rabbit population, assuming that: a newly born pair of rabbits, one male, one female, are put in a field […] At the end of the nth month, the number of pairs of rabbits is equal to the number of new pairs (which is the number of pairs in month n − 2) plus the number of pairs alive last month (n − 1). This is the nth Fibonacci number.

I completely trust them on this one, but I find Emily Gravett’s math demonstration a lot more brilliant and satisfactory.


One thought on “Kids Lit Special: Emily Gravett, The Rabbit Problem (2009)

  1. Loved this review. And I’m definitely ordering one for our rabbit-loving girl. She and her Munny are inseparable. Emily Gravett is a treat – so glad you liked Again too.

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