Rabbit Chase

Annick. Apr. 2022. 120p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781773216201.
Gr 5-8–In this debut graphic novel, Aimée, an Anishinaabe nonbinary student, is visiting the Petroglphs with their school’s Indigenous Students Association to make offerings to the Paayehnsag, water spirits who trust only the young. Feeling increasingly isolated, Aimée, the target of bullies because of their pronouns, wanders off in the forest and encounters a white rabbit who can talk and read minds. Referring to the changing landscape and the presence of bulldozers, the rabbit warns that things will become dire “if we can’t stop our land from being signed away.” The rabbit implores Aimée to convince the Paayehnsag to help them fight the enemies in the dark waters. Thus begins a journey reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland, with similar characters such as a tyrannical queen and an auntie who entertains around a table sporting a top hat. The inventive storytelling of this page-turner will entrance audiences. The author blends elements from this literary classic with aspects of Anishinaabe culture and vocabulary in an accessible manner. Translations are provided for reference. Oster’s artwork has a fresh, contemporary feel that also gives voice to the traditional figures in Anishinaabe culture and reflects the changing landscape of the land.
VERDICT A moving graphic novel that touches on identity and cultural legacy, and representation that is sure to impact young readers.

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