The Rabbit's Gift
“A timeless, tenderhearted story . . . thoroughly enchanting.”—Claire Legrand, New York Times–bestselling author of Furyborn
“This lush and colorful fairy tale is sure to be a delight for middle grade readers.”—School Library Journal (starred review)
What makes a hero or a villain? Can someone be both—or neither?
When the delicate balance between the people of a small country and the mythic rabbits of age-old lore is broken, putting everyone at risk, a young rabbit and a young girl must overcome their prejudices and learn to trust each other. This vivid and inventive novel from the acclaimed author of The Wolf’s Curse will captivate fans of Orphan Island and Scary Stories for Young Foxes.
Quincy Rabbit and his warren live a simple yet high-stakes life. In exchange for the purple carrots they need to survive, they farm and deliver Chou de vie (cabbage-like plants that grow human babies inside) to the human citizens of Montpeyroux. But lately, because of those selfish humans, there haven’t been enough carrots to go around. So Quincy sets out to change that—all he needs are some carrot seeds. He’ll be a hero.
Fleurine sees things a little differently. As the only child of the Grand Lumière, she’s being groomed to follow in her mother’s political footsteps—no matter how much Fleurine longs to be a botanist instead. Convinced that having a sibling will shift her mother’s attention, Fleurine tries to grow purple carrots, hoping to make a trade with the rabbits. But then a sneaky rabbit steals her seeds. In her desperation to get them back, she follows that rabbit all the way to the secret warren—and steals a Chou.
Quincy and Fleurine have endangered not just the one baby inside the Chou, but the future of Montpeyroux itself—for rabbits and humans alike. Now, they’ll have to find a way to trust each other to restore the balance.
Told from both Quincy’s and Fleurine’s perspectives, The Rabbit’s Gift will enchant fans of Katherine Applegate, Gail Carson Levine, and Anne Ursu.
Praise for The Rabbit's Gift
“Quincy Rabbit just wants to prove himself and make his family proud. . . . Meanwhile, Fleurine, daughter of the human matriarch, wants nothing more than to study botany and avoid her mother’s succession education plans. . . . Told in alternating viewpoints, this lush and colorful fairy tale is sure to be a delight for middle grade readers. Vitalis explores themes of privilege, responsibility, friendship, honor, and being true to oneself. This is a thought-provoking read that will stay in readers’ heads for years to come.” — School Library Journal (starred review)
“The Rabbit’s Gift by Jessica Vitalis is a powerful story about the tenuous place where the human & animal worlds meet. Rooted in French mythology, with gorgeous botanical imagery and timely messages about the importance of working together for the common good.” — Kate Albus, author of A Place to Hang the Moon
"In The Rabbit’s Gift, Jessica Vitalis explores with deftness and sensitivity the power of perspective in storytelling, and how, quite often, the world is far more complicated than simply a good hero versus an evil villain. Lyrical writing, a vividly inventive world, and wholly endearing characters make this timeless, tenderhearted story shine. A thoroughly enchanting tale." — Claire Legrand, New York Times–bestselling author of Furyborn
“Longing to be a hero, Quincy Rabbit lives with his family in the Warren, where cabbagelike plants called Chou de vie, each containing a human baby, are grown . . . Narrating their stories in alternating voices, Quincy and Fleurine pass the blame as she desperately tries to protect and hide the stolen Chou while Quincy valiantly attempts to rescue and return it to the Warren. Both walk a fine line between hero and villain in this original tale based in part on European folklore. A clever tale of rabbits, cabbage babies, purple carrots, mistakes made, and lessons learned.” — Kirkus Reviews
“A compelling story, based on a French fairy tale, features meticulous mythology, high adventure, and deepening introspection, giving equal attention to the two opposing main characters. An enchanting exploration of the importance of perspective and what it means to lead with an empathetic heart.” — Booklist
“In this gently folkloric story . . . there has been a delicate balance between humans, who leave purple carrots out as tribute, and rabbits, who then deliver tiny human babies inside cabbages to those families. . . . A recent lack of tributes has left the rabbits starving, however . . . Quincy [Rabbit], all silent motivational talks and poignant yearning to be a hero rather than the runt of a litter, anchors the fantasy in emotion and heart, stretching far beyond his own imagining and reminding readers that small can still be mighty.” — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books