The Rabbit Listened

By Cori Doerrfeld,

Book cover of The Rabbit Listened

Book description

With its spare, poignant text and irresistibly sweet illustrations, The Rabbit Listened is a tender meditation on loss. When something terrible happens, Taylor doesn't know where to turn. All the animals are sure they have the answer. The chicken wants to talk it out, but Taylor doesn't feel like chatting.…

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Why read it?

8 authors picked The Rabbit Listened as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Simple drawings, simple text, nails the moral with an absolute gut punch that feels just right. It’s got expert pacing! It’s got animals!

This book has won a million awards for a reason. The plot? Taylor builds a thing with blocks. It gets knocked down. Different animals present different strategies for coping, but ultimately Taylor just needed someone to listen to him. Enter rabbit.

So simple! And sooooo human. AI wishes it could distill an essential human experience like this. But it can’t - yet - I don’t think. So prbtrbrtb.

The protagonist in this lovely book, Taylor, is upset that his stack of blocks has been knocked over, so a host of animals try to help, but they’re more interested in giving advice than comfort. Finally, a rabbit comes by and listens. Just listens. This allows Taylor to explore, process, and surmount his feelings. It’s a great lesson in empathy for kids and adults alike. 

From Tom's list on pictures about crabby characters.

This pick isn’t about divorce, but oh-my-gosh, it is a brilliant reminder that sometimes (most of the time?) the best thing you can do for someone else is just—listen. The girl in the story, Taylor, works hard to build a tower only to watch it crash to the ground. Her friends offer well-meaning suggestions and advice, but it’s only when the rabbit sits quietly and listens that she begins to feel better. The Rabbit Listened is a humbling reminder to open our ears, not our mouths, when our children are going through something tough, like divorce.

Sometimes I don’t have the answers. Sometimes there is no right answer. This book reminds me that there are moments when I need to stop trying to control the narrative. Even if my chest feels as tight as a balloon, full of love and the need to fix everything, I keep my mouth shut. I silently root for my son as he finds his own way forward.

When someone you love is going through a hard time, it can be hard to know how to support them. It’s uncomfortable and heartbreaking. We can’t make their pain go away, but this book is a powerful reminder that just being there, listening, and acknowledging their rollercoaster of valid emotion can go a long way toward helping a person heal in their own time and at their own pace. With a gender-neutral child protagonist, this deceptively simple book is inspired in its pacing, spare text, use of white space, and sprinkling of humor. All in the space of 32 pages,…

From April's list on picture books for ages 6 to 106.

The Rabbit Listened is about a child who builds “something amazing” only to have it destroyed in an instant. As the child grieves, various animals suggest ways to solve his problem. Finally, a rabbit arrives who listens quietly as the child shares his emotions surrounding the tragedy. This wonderfully insightful book combines honesty, heart, and humor with a hopeful, happy ending. For the child, this book is a comfort, and a guide for empathy. For the adult, this book is a gentle reminder that we don’t have to fix things or know the perfect words to say to make everything…

From Amanda's list on dealing with feelings.

Kindness is only part of the story here; the issue is also how to be kind. When Taylor has a bad moment and sinks into despair, the chicken, the bear, the elephant, and all the rest of the animals instinctively want to reach out. They offer suggestions, encouraging Taylor to talk it out, shout it out, try again, seek payback, and so on. Only the rabbit understands that what is needed most is a listening ear.  The book goes so much deeper than kindness, and does it beautifully.  

From Leslie's list on more elusive than ever kindness.

The Rabbit Listened takes readers on an emotional journey through a calamity’s aftermath. Well-meaning characters try to help, but Taylor isn’t ready. When the rabbit just listens, Taylor finds the strength to express all the feelings that have been bottled up inside. The soft color palette and spare text leave a lot of room for readers to put themselves into this story of healing.

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