Image © estate of Robert Lawson.
About a month ago, when Winter was getting me down, I found rereading this childhood favorite a good antidote. One of writer/illustrator Lawson’s best and best known books is “Rabbit Hill,” but this sequel is nearly as good. The setting is Lawson’s actual home in Westport, Connecticut, but the talking animals are pure whimsy. Very entertaining all the same. When Lawson and his wife head south for the winter, they hire a house-sitter who is a very poor replacement in the eyes of the many animals on and around the property, who Lawson has been feeding regularly. When the caretaker arrives, that’s clearly over, and the caretaker’s foolish dog, while no real threat to the wise country critters, is still very annoying. Winter hits hard with lots of snow, and while young Georgie Rabbit and his friend Willie Fieldmouse find it all a great adventure, many residents are forced to move to other farms and homes where they can find food. Even Georgie’s mother is sent off to relatives while Georgie’s father and Uncle Analdas decide to tough it out. Before long they’re starving and desperate, but the younger creatures manage to keep the fun in their winter travails, as can be seen in the cover picture above. Lawson’s illustrations for this book are in lush and detailed pencil, only colored on the cover, but there are lots of them, and they’re wonderful. Yes, the animals act more like people much of the time, foibles and all, but that’s part of the charm of this delightful story.