Review: Hannes the Rabbit. There is a rabbit solution for every problem in life
Hard facts: Written by Astrid Wörn. Illustration: Sandra Bretschneider. Published by Vektor-Verlag in 2007. 24 pages. Price: €9.80. Language: German.
Plot (spoiler alert!): Hannes the Rabbit lives in the city. His rabbit hollow is in a pleasant green backyard. One day after eating delicious carrot pancakes, he has a tummy ache, nausea and itching. He feels very ill. Fortunately it is gone the next morning and he can go frolic with his friends in the grass. To his great surprise, after being outside for a while he feels poorly again. This time the little rabbit has a terrible sneezing fit – could it be a summer cold? Mummy rabbit takes Hannes to the doctor. They have a long talk and do some allergy tests on Hannes’ fur and blood. The suspicion is confirmed: he is allergic to the carrot pancakes. The doctor also diagnoses hay fever, which often occurs at the same time. The little rabbit is feeling quite low. But his dog friend and the squirrel from the city park find a solution. There is a lake in the city park with very fine sand where he can play with his friends. And Daddy gets a new cookbook. Hannes the Rabbit now uses a special cream and wears a soft T-shirt to bed. He is happy again because there is a rabbit solution for everything.
What we liked:
- The lively, colourful water colour illustrations take young readers into the world of Hannes the Rabbit right from the first page
- The texts on single pages are easy to read and are a good length
- The sensitivity and empathy within the story
- The friendly main character Hannes the Rabbit, with whom children can easily identify
- The medical research: the allergy testing and conclusions are described in precise detail
What could make it even better:
- The cross-reaction between carrots and grass is (in humans) rather rare. But since the story is about a little rabbit, it is plausible that he has a sensitivity to carrots.
- Advertising: We find it regrettable that the product placement by Weleda and hessnatur is not clearly noted. That the two companies helped fund the printing of the book is not specified until the end. By then, Hannes the Rabbit has already applied the orange-coloured marigold salve cream and put on his wonderfully soft cotton T-shirt for bed. It would have been nice if these scenes had either been written without product placement in order to give unbiased health information or presented as a real advertisement.
Conclusion: Hannes the Rabbit is an excellent children’s book on the subject of allergies. It is gentle with children’s feelings. It shows that you don’t have to deal with the consequences of an allergy by yourself. Hannes’ family and friends are there for him. The book’s creators do not lose sight of their young target group in the medical details. We are very impressed at how they successfully found a balance between the two. This book is targeted at children from three to eight years. It is an entertaining book to read aloud and also alone, and has an encouraging message. Since it was not clearly indicated on certainpages that the content was inspired by the sponsors Weleda and hessnatur, we give the book a rating of four stars.