We’re officially back in the swing of things at Newbery Pie, and I’ll pick up right where we left off.
It was 1945. The U.S. was right in the middle of a pretty dark war, and there were some terrible things going on around the world. There were concentration camps in Europe, interment camps in the U.S. and everyone knew and loved someone who could possibly not come back from the war alive. The world of kid’s literature needed a book that was simple, light and pleasant and that’s exactly what they got with Rabbit Hill.
I thought the book was charming. The dialogue is funny, the characters are cute, even if they are kind of flat and not very deep. The main problem with the novel, though, is that it’s boring. I could never see one of my students reading the whole thing, and it’s only 128 pages. Maybe the world did need a Newbery winner that wasn’t too serious in the middle of WWII, but I can name two books right off the bat that were better than Rabbit Hill and more deserving of the Newbery. Ready? Stuart Little and The 100 Dresses. Both books still circulate decently in my library in 2014. Both are distinguished, and both mop the floor with Rabbit Hill. If Pippi Longstockings was eligible, it would have been more deserving too. I don’t know what happened with that 1945 Newbery Committee, but this is the first time that I obviously see them dropping the ball. This is the first of two slights to Mr. E.B. White. The next would happen in 1953. (Yeah, you know which one I’m talking about.) I wonder why the committees were so reluctant to award the man. He was a genius.
I give Rabbit Hill three Newbery Pies
Next up: Strawberry Girl