Little Rabbit and the Sea

book cover

Written and illustrated by Gavin Bishop
ISBN Hardback: 1-55858-809-4
Published by North South Books, New York 1997
Full colour picture book, 32 pages
Page size: 23 x 21.5 cm
Level: 3-6 yrs

ISBN Library binding: 1-55858-810-8
ISBN Paperback: 0-7358-1312-4
ISBN: 4-06-261982-2
Japanese edition published by Kodansha 1998
ISBN: 0-7358-1313-2
Spanish edition published by North South 1999

Little Rabbit has never seen the sea. But all day long he thinks about it, and every night in his dreams he sails in his little boat with the wind in his ears.

“What is the sea like?” he asks his grandmother, his father and his uncle. They all give him different answers, which only makes Little Rabbit long to see for himself. But the sea is far away.

Then one day a kindly sea gull shows Little Rabbit the sea. And it turns out to be everything he's ever imagined - and much, much more.

Gavin Bishop's sweet, simple story celebrates youthful yearnings and dreams come true.


“In Bishop's tender story, a young bunny yearns to visit the ocean, and dreams every night that ‘he sailed in his little boat with the wind in his ears.” The author's choice to deny his wide-eyed hero the expected closure results in a more powerful work, a poignant and affirming tribute to the powers of imagination.

“Dressed in a sailor suit, Little Rabbit tries to find out what the sea is like. His grandmother says it is ‘wild and quiet, a bit of both.’ His father says it is ‘blue and wide, never ending” and a painter uncle describes it as ‘dark and salty, like cider vinegar.’

“When a seagull drops a sea shell at Little Rabbit's feet, he puts the shell to his ear and opens up his mind’s eye: in the final pages, he has vividly imagined himself to be the compleat sailor, bounding over the waves.

“The spare text (usually no more than three lines to a page, often set on an expanse of white space) exudes the quiet rhythms and heightened resonance of poetry, and the austerity of the narrative voice makes a fitting counterpoint to the sumptuous, full-bleed water color and ink illustrations. Rendered in aquatic blues and greens with splashes of burnt orange, the pictures radiate a lustrous quality reminiscent of ceramic glaze. There is such grace in Bishop's ink strokes that every page seems animated with a gentle breeze.” - American Publishers' Weekly, October 1997

“The imagery is wonderfully fitting...the combination of design and short text makes this title especially accessible to beginning readers. While it will also be popular with preschoolers, it will make a nice introduction to the study of imagery and adjectives for slightly older students.” – American School Library Journal, 1998