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y separately published work icon The Rabbits single work   picture book   children's  
Issue Details: First known date: 1998... 1998 The Rabbits
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

"The rabbits came many grandparents ago.

They build houses, made roads, had children.

They cut down trees.

A whole continent of rabbits..." (back cover)

An allegorical story using rabbits, an introduced species, to represent the arrival of Europeans in Australia and the subsequent widespread environmental destruction.

Exhibitions

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Adaptations

y separately published work icon The Rabbits Lally Katz , Kate Miller-Heidke (composer), 2015 8043706 2015 single work drama opera

'John Marsden and Shaun Tan's haunting picture book tells a story we all know: a story of colonisation, civilisation and progress — a story about displacement, destruction and culture clash. And in that landscape, it tells a story of hope taking root.

'It's a story for young people, it's a story for old people, it's a story for all of us.

'Opera Australia and Barking Gecko Theatre Company have assembled some of Australia's foremost creative talents to collaborate on a new opera for children and families.

'Gabriela Tylesova's kooky sets and costumes realise Tan's pictures in all of their mystical wonder, while Lally Katz has turned Marsden's spare poetry into an enchanting libretto. To write the score, Kate Miller Heidke: the butterfly-voiced, classically-trained indie-pop singer who is as at home on the charts as she is performing at the Met. As well as composing The Rabbits, Kate will perform in this production.' (Production summary)

Teaching Resources

Teaching Resources

This work has teaching resources.

Teachers' notes via publisher's website.

Affiliation Notes

  • This work is affiliated with the AustLit subset Asian-Australian Children's Literature and Publishing because it has Chinese and Korean translations.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Port Melbourne, South Melbourne - Port Melbourne area, Melbourne - Inner South, Melbourne, Victoria,: Lothian , 1998 .
      image of person or book cover 4904450462669923651.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 1 v.p.
      Description: col. illus.
      Reprinted: 1999
      ISBN: 0850918782 (hbk.)
  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Lost and Found Shaun Tan , John Marsden , Shaun Tan (illustrator), New York (City) : Arthur A. Levine Books , 2011 Z1764283 2011 selected work picture book These three short stories focus on loss and despair to explore how we lose and find what matters most to us: a girl finds a bright spot in a dark world, a boy leads a strange, lost being home, and a group of peaceful creatures loses its home to cruel invaders.
    New York (City) : Arthur A. Levine Books , 2011
    • Port Melbourne, South Melbourne - Port Melbourne area, Melbourne - Inner South, Melbourne, Victoria,: Lothian , 2000 .
      Extent: 1 v.p.
      Description: col. illus.
      ISBN: 073440221X (pbk.)
    • Port Melbourne, South Melbourne - Port Melbourne area, Melbourne - Inner South, Melbourne, Victoria,: Andover, Southern Midlands, Midlands, Tasmania,: Lothian ; Ragged Bears , 2001 .
      Extent: 32p.
      ISBN: 073440221X

Other Formats

Works about this Work

Aboriginal Perspectives in English Classroom Texts Jessica Scarcella , Cathie Burgess , 2019 single work criticism
— Appears in: English in Australia , vol. 54 no. 1 2019; (p. 20-29)

'According to the NSW K–10 English Syllabus, all students should engage with ‘texts that give insight into Aboriginal experiences in Australia’. Along with the inclusion of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cross Curriculum Priority, this suggests that texts in English should develop deep understanding of Aboriginal cultures, experiences and perspectives. This project uses critical discourse analysis followed by content analysis, adapted from Lowe and Yunkaporta’s (2013) Cultural Analysis Matrix, to analyse representations of Aboriginal experiences and perspectives in six commonly used classroom texts to ascertain the nature and depth of the Aboriginal voices, experiences and perspectives within each text. This paper argues that texts which include Aboriginal characters and experiences through non-Aboriginal perspectives remain at risk of tokenism and/or shallow inclusion. However, texts which embody and value Aboriginal ways of knowing, doing and being demonstrate a capacity for more nuanced and genuine insights into Aboriginal experiences in Australia.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Of Rabbits and Pirates : After-Images of E. Philips Fox’s ‘Landing of Captain Cook at Botany Bay, 1770 Golnar Nabizadeh , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Adaptation , March vol. 9 no. 1 2016; (p. 35-45)
'This paper explores the role of fantasy in E. Phillips Fox’s historical painting, ‘Landing of Captain Cook at Botany Bay 1770’ (1902) through two contemporary adaptations of the work in The Rabbits (1998) by John Marsden and Shaun Tan, and Daniel Boyd’s painting, ‘We Call Them Pirates Out Here’ (2006). Although markedly different in terms of their material production and aesthetic approach, the adaptations of ‘Landing of Captain Cook’ recapitulate its colonial fantasy by displacing the hyper-real contents of the original with surrealistic and pop elements, respectively. I suggest that as ‘after-images’, these adaptations usefully complicate the signification of ‘Cook’ and in so doing, engage with dialogues about how ‘Australia’ is constituted, and how it might be imagined. In this sense, the adaptations consciously draw out the fantasy of ‘Australia’ in the original through their later aesthetic permutations.' (Publication abstract)
Visions and Values : The Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Prizing of Picture Books in the Twenty-First Century Erica Hateley , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Canon Constitution and Canon Change in Children's Literature 2016; (p. 205-221)

'The Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) administers the oldest national prize for children’s literature in Australia. Each year, the CBCA confers “Book of the Year” awards to literature for young people in five categories: Older Readers, Younger Readers, Early Childhood, Picture Books and Information Books. In recent years the Picture Book category has emerged as a highly visible space within which the CBCA can contest discourses of cultural marginalization which construct Australian (‘colonial’) literature as inferior or adjunct to the major Anglophone literary traditions, and children’s literature as lesser than its adult counterpart. The CBCA has moved from asserting its authority by withholding judgment in the award’s early years towards asserting expertise via overtly politicized selections in the twenty-first century. Reading across the CBCA’s selections of picture books allows for insights into wider trends in Australian children’s literature and culture, and suggests a conscious engagement with social as well as literary values on the part of the CBCA in the twenty-first century.'

Creatures of Havoc John Marsden , 2015 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 22-23 August 2015; (p. 8-9) The Saturday Age , 22-23 August 2015; (p. 8)
A Toothy Tale : Themes of Abjection in John Marsden and Shaun Tan's Picture Story Book, The Rabbits Dianne McGlasson , 2013 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Lion and the Unicorn , January vol. 37 no. 1 2013; (p. 20-36)
'In this article I consider the multi-award winning, intriguing, contemporary Australian picture story book, The Rabbits, written by John Marsden and illustrated by Shaun Tan. Published in 1998, the book has been given the Aurealis Convener's Award for Excellence, the Spectrum Gold Award for Book Illustration, and the Children's Book Council of Australia Picture Book of the Year award. While the audience for this book is notionally children and young adults (acknowledged by its inclusion in the curriculum of Australian secondary schools), the book declares itself as "a rich and haunting allegory of colonization suitable for all ages and cultures" told from the viewpoint of native animals (The Rabbits back cover). The Rabbits depicts the dispossession of small lizard and marsupial-like animals in a recognizably Australian landscape; the indigenous inhabitants are robbed of their way of life, their cultural heritage, country, and children stolen by the invading army of rabbits who arrive with all the hallmarks of European culture and, with devastating effect, ruthlessly exploit the land, displacing the indigenes. The seemingly simple narrative contains complex references that most obviously relate to the contemporary, contested notion of colonization, and warrants a serious reading.' (Author's introduction)
[Review] The Rabbits Sue Clancy , 1999 single work review
— Appears in: Reading Time : The Journal of the Children's Book Council of Australia , May vol. 43 no. 2 1999; (p. 17)

— Review of The Rabbits John Marsden , 1998 single work picture book
[Review] The Rabbits Jane Connolly , 1998 single work review
— Appears in: Magpies : Talking About Books for Children , November vol. 13 no. 5 1998; (p. 31)

— Review of The Rabbits John Marsden , 1998 single work picture book
[Review] The Rabbits Brenda O'Neill , 1999 single work review
— Appears in: Fiction Focus : New Titles for Teenagers , vol. 13 no. 1 1999; (p. 19)

— Review of The Rabbits John Marsden , 1998 single work picture book
Text Muddies a Striking View Katharine England , 1998 single work review
— Appears in: The Advertiser , 14 November 1998; (p. 27)

— Review of The Rabbits John Marsden , 1998 single work picture book
Children's Book Council Books of the Year : Picture Books Jennifer Moran , 1999 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 21 August 1999; (p. 23)

— Review of The Rabbits John Marsden , 1998 single work picture book
The Children's Book Council of Australia Annual Awards 1999 1999 single work criticism
— Appears in: Reading Time : The Journal of the Children's Book Council of Australia , August vol. 43 no. 3 1999; (p. 3-12)
CBC Acceptance Speeches : John Marsden John Marsden , 1999 single work column
— Appears in: Reading Time : The Journal of the Children's Book Council of Australia , November vol. 43 no. 4 1999; (p. 3-4)
CBC Acceptance Speeches : Shaun Tan Shaun Tan , 1999 single work column
— Appears in: Reading Time : The Journal of the Children's Book Council of Australia , November vol. 43 no. 4 1999; (p. 4-5)
An Eidolon Interview with Shaun Tan Nick Stathopoulos (interviewer), 1999 single work interview
— Appears in: Eidolon : The Journal of Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy , Winter no. 28 1999; (p. 41-46)
Shaun Tan answers questions about his approaches to book illustration and influences on his work.
Reading(s) Beneath the Surface : Using Picture Books to Develop a Critical Aesthetics Kerry Mallan , 1999 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Journal of Language and Literacy , vol. 23 no. 1 (p. 11-21)
Through various literary and illustrative devices, The Rabbits, One Less Fish, and Sand Swimmers demonstrate the complex interplay between two symbolic mediums. By her reading of the content and form of these books, Mallan draws attention to the need to engage students in a critical discourse which attends not only to the aesthetic and literary properties of these texts, but also considers their social and political implications.
Last amended 24 Apr 2020 13:25:41
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