Monday, March 28, 2016

The Black Rabbit 
By Philippa Leathers
Published 2013

Recognitions: 2014-2015 Florida Reading Association Children’s Book Award-Honorable Mention

The Black Rabbit is author’s Philippa Leathers first book--and she has published several others since The Black Rabbit. It is a simple, yet amusing and cleverly written story that can work well as a mentor text for narrative writing, especially in 1st -3rd grades.  The sentences are uncomplicated, but, along with the illustrations, carry the story with humor and keep interest high-which is always worth talking about with writers.  The Black Rabbit  has a fun twist at the end of the story that students will enjoy. This twist makes it a great mentor text for ‘strong endings’, especially for older students who may be new to Writing Workshop.

Book Talk
Rabbit wakes up one beautiful morning and steps outside ready for the day! Almost immediately, he noticed that he is not alone. Behind him on a rock was a very, very large black rabbit! (Students will notice right away that the ‘black rabbit’ is the rabbit’s shadow.)  Rabbit was scared and yelled at the big Black Rabbit to go away! 

The big Black Rabbit did not go away, but instead, followed Rabbit absolutely everywhere!  Rabbit tried to hide in all kinds of place, but still big Black Rabbit was always with him.

Some Favorite Lines:
But when Rabbit stepped out from behind the tree…there was the Black Rabbit right in front of him!
Maybe he is not a good swimmer like me, thought Rabbit, and he jumped into the river and swam to the other side.
But when he pulled himself up onto the bank…the Black Rabbit climbed out of the water, too!

Scared and nearly in a panic, the Rabbit ran as fast as he ever had before—straight into the deep, dark wood!  After he was deep in the wood, Rabbit stopped and rested.  While he was resting, he saw two big, scary eyes gleaming at him from the dark trees!  He thought it was Black Rabbit again, but no—it was a Wolf!

Some More Favorite Lines:
But it was NOT the Black Rabbit!
Rabbit ran as fast as he could out of the deep, dark forest, with Wolf close behind him.
Then Rabbit tripped!
Rabbit scrambled to his feet, but it was too late. He shut his eyes tight and waited for Wolf to attack…

But nothing happened, because Rabbit was out in the sunshine at this point….and there was the big Black Rabbit, yet again, this time to save the day!  Wolf took one look at the Black Rabbit and ran as fast and as deep in the wood that he could!  

And Rabbit and Black Rabbit became fast friends!

Suggest Uses as a Mentor Text:
Book Genre: Fiction / Animal Fantasy
Reading Workshop Strategies: Making Connections, Character Development, Fluency, Predicting, Inferring
Writing Workshop Stratregies: Narrative writing, Fantasy writing, Strong Endings

Philippa Leathers website:

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