The Rabbit, The Dark and The Biscuit Tin by Nicola O’Byrne
Once upon a time, a rabbit doesn’t want to go to sleep. And so he forms a cunning plan. And this very clever plan includes trapping The Dark in his best blue and white-striped biscuit tin…
We fall in love with this book from the cover. It’s the mystery of the title. It’s the rabbit leaning precariously over the side of the biscuit tin as though trying to steal a cookie. But the story within this precious book is more original than you’d expect. This naughty rabbit isn’t just trying to steal a cookie. He’s trying to steal the chance to stay up all night. He’s not tired at all, not one little bit. And if it’s not dark, well, why should he go to sleep? His wily scheme is impressive. Even more so when it turns out that The Dark likes cookies and is easily tricked. But on a day when it never gets dark, things aren’t as easy as Rabbit expects. Even then, he needs some cajoling to set everything back to rights again…
It is unsurprising that this is a gem of a book, given that Nicola O’Byrne won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize in 2014 and has been published in 19 languages. Her illustrations complement a story that could easily become a classic. In this simple yet refreshing tale, The Dark becomes a kind and parental character. Rather than being scary, The Dark cares for the nocturnal animals like the owls and bats and fox clubs – and even helps carrots grow. What is more, The Dark can be magically beautiful – a stunning fold-out is one of the book’s highlights. And there’s a twist of humour in this tale!
We can easily believe the publisher’s claim that O’Byrne bases her characters on people she knows. Just about every parent has a little rabbit who doesn’t want to go to sleep!
Reviewer: Susannah Whaley
Nosy Crow, RRP $16.99