Monday, March 24, 2014

Picture Book Spotlight: LION VS. RABBIT

This week the Picture Book Spotlight shines on LION VS. RABBIT by Alex Latimer.

LION VS. RABBIT starts off in a similar vein to the Clint Eastwood movie, Unforgiven.  A group of desperate creatures who have been treated unfairly put out an ad to hire justice.  In Unforgiven, the mistreated party was a group of prostitutes who hired a gunslinger to kill a man who had mutilated one of their faces.  In Lion vs. Rabbits, a group of bullied animals hire a rabbit to stop a mean lion.  I don't mean to suggest that anything in Lion Vs. Rabbit is as harsh as in Unforgiven, but comparing the two is rather funny to me.

But let's go back to the beginning of the book, to the lion.  He's pulling standard bully pranks like giving wedgies, putting silly notes on people's backs and stealing lunch money.

After the bullied animals put the ad out, a bunch of critters show up to teach the lion a lesson.  One by one, the lion defeats them by boxing, fencing, and arm wresting.  (Sidenote: as an illustrator, I was very interested in how these scenes play out because you can't show two characters beating the snot out of each other in a picture book.  Mr. Latimer gives us the set up and the pay off without any violence and it works brilliantly.)

Finally, a rabbit shows up.

This teeny little rabbit is able to beat lion is a variety of different of unexpected competitions, including the one the lion suggests!

The rabbit has a little trick up its sleeve and I won't spill the beans here, you'll just have to buy the book.  But, ultimately, the lion concedes victory and promises to stop bullying the other animals.

(Just think, if Clint Eastwood would have had an imaginary Harvey instead of Morgan Freeman, it would have been a very different movie.) 

I picked up Lion Vs. Rabbit because I was drawn to the art.  These days, as I am exploring my own illustration styles, I am paying extra attention to books where the art is especially appealing to me.  Who doesn't love David Weisner's realism? It's stunning!  It's gorgeous! But it's not really my style.  Yanno?  Like, I love to look at it, but I have zero interest in trying to do something like that.  I'm drawn to stylization and I really loved the line work and color palette of Lion Vs. Rabbit.

When I look at the illustration above, I'm interested in all the detailed line work in the grass, while the clouds have zero linss.  The sky is a flat blue, but the clouds have texture.  There are probably 6 - 8 different shades of green in the grass and one blue.

The line work is clean.  The colors are bright.  And there's just enough texture to create pops of depth.

Very interesting.  Very appealing.

Lion Vs. Rabbit is funny and clever and kids will probably relate to the animals' problem solving. They'll learn that with a few tricks, even a tiny rabbit can outsmart a big bully!

Have a great week, everyone, and thanks for stopping in!

1 comment:

Johnell DeWitt said...

It looks like such a cute book. I'm going to be looking for it now. Thanks.