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Emmaline and the Bunny: 01/08/10

Emmaline and the Bunny by Katherine Hannigan is a delightful and quirky graphic novel I found at my local library.

Emmaline and her family have the misfortune of living in the town of Neatasapin. Imagine the worst of the planned communities where everything is the same and nothing is designed with children in mind. Imagine such a tidy place that even the wildlife has been driven out.

In the middle of all of this regimented living is Emmaline, a normal, healthy, rambunctious child. What she desperately wants is a pet who enjoys her love of playing in the dirt. She wants a bunny. As you can imagine, bunnies are not allowed in Neatasapin.

Emmaline's parents strike a deal with her. If she can be tidy for a month, they will find a way to get a rabbit for her. I expected at this point that Emmaline would fulfill her part of the bargain and her family would be forced to chose between Neatasapin and their daughter's happiness. The book though does something different with a guest appearance from an Old One (in terms of a deity or force of nature older than man who speaks for the well being of the earth). She isn't drawn as any particular Old One but her long braid and enigmatic way of speaking makes her like any number of possible Old Ones.

The appearance of the Old One turned my feelings from the book from mild enjoyment to all out love. How and what she teaches Emmaline (and by proxy her parents) brings home the importance of living with nature instead of at odds with it.

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