The best books about hares

Many authors have picked their favorite books about hares and why they recommend each book.

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Masquerade

By Kit Williams,

Book cover of Masquerade

I’m not necessarily including Masquerade because of its objective quality as a picture book. It’s the concept behind it that really captures my imagination. Similar to The Eleventh Hour, each illustration has a seek-and-find element as well as several embedded puzzles and codes. If you put all the clues together, they solve a mystery. However, unlike The Eleventh Hour, Masquerade’s mystery wasn’t originally relegated to the pages of a book. The solution revealed the location of a real-life buried treasure. You read that correctly. Author-illustrator, Kit Williams, actually went out in secret and buried a jeweled, golden hare at a location in Britain known only to him.

Since this book was published a few decades ago, the hare has already been found, but I think Masquerade still deserves to be on this list. Williams’s illustrations are beautiful in their own right, and his ambitious idea inspired an entire genre of…


Who am I?

I’m Anne Lambelet, author-illustrator of Maria the Matador. The greatest compliment to any author-illustrator is that a child wants to keep spending time with your book after the first read-through is over. As an avid childhood reader who has maintained a passion for kid lit into my adulthood and my career, I’ve read a lot of picture books in my life, but the ones that have stuck with me are the ones that demanded a second, a third, even a fiftieth look. For that reason, I’ve chosen the following topic for my list of recommendations.


I wrote...

Maria the Matador

By Anne Lambelet,

Book cover of Maria the Matador

What is my book about?

Maria loves tea parties and dancing and wearing her hair in pigtails, but more than anything, Maria loves churros. So, when Maria sees a poster advertising a lifetime supply of churros to the winner of a bullfighting competition, she has to enter. Unfortunately, she isn’t as big, as fast, or as strong as the other matadors. But maybe those things don’t matter? Instead of strength and speed, what Maria really needs are courage, creativity, and most of all, kindness, to win the day and her beloved churros.

With stylized illustrations inspired by vintage Spanish posters, I’m hoping the story and the pictures in this book will keep kids coming back again and again. 

Quest for the Golden Hare

By Bamber Gascoigne,

Book cover of Quest for the Golden Hare

From a wild sheep chase to a grand old treasure hunt that gripped a nation, the Quest for the Golden Hare tells the real-life story of one of the most famous book-related escapades in recent memory. 

In 1979, British artist Kit Williams published Masquerade – a cryptic storybook containing clues to the whereabouts of an 18-carat gold hare trinket that Williams buried somewhere in the English countryside. Author Bamber Gascoigne was the only other person present at the burial, and was tasked with documenting the frankly bonkers lengths the crazed fans would go to uncover it.

I’m loath to mention the pandemic again, but in these times, when most of us are going stir crazy and are itching for an adventure, this book might just be the next best thing. (Bonus points if you can source a copy of Masquerade while you’re at it, which I believe has been…


Who am I?

I’ve always had a love for weird and wonderful animals. As a kid, I used to collect lizards, snails, beetles, and caterpillars. When I was 15, I hid a family of white mice under the house so my parents wouldn’t find them. We bred guinea pigs and rats for a time. It was almost inevitable that I would end up writing about animals. As a science communicator, I tell stories about how strange yet relatable so many of the creatures living among us can be. I also love an adventure, and I hope these books capture your imagination as they did mine! 


I wrote...

Creatura: Strange Behaviours and Special Adaptations

By Becky Crew,

Book cover of Creatura: Strange Behaviours and Special Adaptations

What is my book about?

There’s no doubt that Australia has more than its fair share of weird and wonderful animals - just think about the platypus - but the true diversity of our wildlife is more extraordinary than you might imagine. There’s the caterpillar that wears its old head shells as a macabre hat, the cuscus that wraps itself in a blanket of leafy camouflage and the fish that targets prey with a high-powered jet of water. In this collection of stories from Australian Geographic blog Creatura, science writer Bec Crew celebrates the strange behaviours, special adaptations, and peculiar features of our amazing Australian creatures.

Redwall

By Brian Jacques, Gary Chalk (illustrator),

Book cover of Redwall

These books will always be on my list of favorites. The main characters are all animals, but the author does such a fantastic job describing them that you’d have to remind yourself they aren’t human. They are personified so well, yet there are also wonderful descriptions and details that remind you they are animals. I always found myself rooting for these characters in the same ways that I do when I’m reading a well-written book with human characters. You get sucked into their world, so much so that you almost feel like you are one of them.


Who am I?

I get bored easily when I read a book where I can predict the plot. The two things that really set apart the original stories are world development and character complexity. You need a strong character, filled with their own eccentricities, flaws, and virtues. And you need an interesting, well-developed world in which your character can live. If you do these two things well, the story easily writes itself. If you can discover how the character thinks, acts and interacts in their world, how they seek to solve their problems and fix their flaws—that’s what makes a story worth telling…and for me, that’s the story I want to write.


I wrote...

House of Vultures

By Maggie Claire,

Book cover of House of Vultures

What is my book about?

After the land of Cassé was destroyed, the survivors banded together to create the House alliances. Only the strongest, most cunning, and useful are accepted. For the Houses, there are only three laws: 1) Never remove your mask. 2) Never share your true name. 3) Survive. Anyone denied membership into the Houses is considered a Nameless Unchosen and is to be killed on sight. No exceptions.

Yet when Mynah, a tortured soul who has lived in the House of Vultures since she was seven years old, finds an unmasked boy in the forest, she is faced with a terrible choice: follow the law and kill the child, or show him mercy and risk war? A boy's life hangs in the balance. And Mynah's decision will forever change her world.

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