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Li'l Rabbit's Kwanzaa Hardcover – September 28, 2010
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From School Library Journal
K-Gr 1–Feeling too small to be of any use, Li'l Rabbit leaves the house to find something special for his sick grandmother during Karamu, a Kwanzaa feast. Each animal he encounters (Momma Oriole, Groundhog, frogs, etc.) has been on the receiving end of Granna Rabbit's generosity in the past and wants to help in some way. Without realizing it, Li'l Rabbit brings together a whole community for the “the best Karamu ever.” The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa are listed at the end of the book, providing the only direct details about the holiday. The yellow undertones (like the interior of the Rabbit family's earthy, mustard-colored home) add warmth to the cartoon artwork. Sweetly capturing the spirit of the season, the story comes in handy as a lovely supplement to resources that provide straightforward facts about Kwanzaa.Joanna K. Fabicon, Los Angeles Public Library
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Being the youngest in the family is hard for Li’l Rabbit at Kwanzaa. Unlike his siblings, he can’t create elaborate gifts to share. He does find a way to contribute to the celebration, though. Granna is too sick to cook the big feast, Karamu, that she usually prepares. Li’l Rabbit remembers Granna saying that Kwanzaa is a special time for helping others, and he tells the family’s animal friends that she is ill. In a warm surprise, the animals come together with food and gifts to celebrate with Granna. From bespectacled Poppa Squirrel reading in a tree and carpenter Groundhog with his tool belt to Momma Field Mouse pulling her children in a wagon, the characters in Evans’ very bright, playful, textured pictures capture the spirit of community that is the essence of the holiday. The two final pages about “The Nguzo Saba––The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa” will take kids back to the story to find the holiday message in action. Preschool-Kindergarten. --Hazel Rochman
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Li'l Rabbit is disappointed that Kwanzaa this year will be subdued, since his grandmother is sick. He decides to bring her a gift to make her feel better, and unintentionally brings in the entire community for a bigger celebration than ever before.
I like that it's obvious many of the animals don't celebrate Kwanzaa, but still join in. It's such a good message to be shown to children: we can be different but still respect one another's traditions, and even come together for them.
Obviously, this has the most use for a family that celebrates Kwanzaa for for an educator looking to expand on the winter holiday theme. Most families won't feel the need to pick this up, but certainly sit down and listen if it's part of storytime.