Meet Logan. the most adorable rabbit protagonist in Nicola Kinnear’s debut picture book, A Little Bit Brave. He never goes outside and loves his creature comforts – knitting, hot drinks, indoor plants and books. He is a bunny after my own heart! His friend, Luna, on the other hand, loves the excitement of the outside world – she’s daring and courageous and seeks out adventure. After cross words are exchanged, Logan knows that he needs to talk to Luna but that means… gulp!… going outside! With his scarf, snorkel, torch and some biscuits, he tentatively leaves the burrow, braced to conquer his fears and find his friend. What he doesn’t anticipate, however, is the number of challenges he’ll have to face to get to her, or the fact that his intrepid friend faces her own, very real danger, and there’s only one person who can save her.
Kinnear’s illustrations are an utter delight. She has worked with a palette of natural hues, depicting the rabbits’ world and the elements surrounding them – the swirling waters of the river and the eerie darkness of the bears’ cave are particular favourites here. The expressive faces of both rabbits, as well as the other creatures they encounter, make their feelings and experiences easily identifiable – I’m always full of admiration for the way certain illustrators can change things in an instant with the careful positioning of an eyebrow. Here, the same can be said for Logan and Luna’s whiskers and ears.
I love getting an insight into the process authors and illustrators go through when creating picture books. Below, Nicola gives us a behind-the-scenes look into how she created the artwork for the story:
(Above): “This shows some early roughs for a couple of spreads in ‘A Little Bit Brave’. These are very similar to what I ended up with in the final book. When working on my rough illustrations, I like to try and figure out where the text can be placed, early on.”
(Above): “I work my roughs to quite a detailed level so that it makes things easier when moving on to the final illustration. Here you can see the comparison between one of the roughs and a work in progress of the final illustration.”
Oh, Logan, how I empathise with your plight – from a stay-at-home mummy to a stay-at-home bunny, I hear you! Sometimes, stepping out of your comfort zone as a daunting prospect. Young children, too, will see themselves in either of these two rabbits. Logan will appeal to introverts who would perhaps like to confront their fears and embrace new challenges. Luna may be just the ticket in helping brave, assertive souls realise that even they may need to accept help sometimes. It’s refreshing to see traditional gender stereotypes subverted and challenged too – this gets a huge tick from me.
Huge thanks to Scholastic for sending us A Little Bit Brave and for inviting us to join this Blog Tour. Nicola’s book is available now from all good booksellers. Check out the other stops on the tour by visiting my fellow picture book lovers – details below.
Jo, The Mother Side x
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