Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine.
Little Georgie, a young rabbit, lives with his parents on the Hill. Father is a Southern gentleman who likes to talk, and Mother is a relentless worrier. Many other animal friends live on the Hill, including Porkey the woodchuck, Phewie the skunk, field mice, deer, foxes, moles, birds and squirrels.
When word spreads that a new family is taking over the run-down farm, the animals are excited. Mother worries about all that could go wrong if the new people have pets or children or try to poison the animals. Most of the other animals, however, hope for a new era of plentiful food.
Father sends Little Georgie to find aging Uncle Analdas and invite him for the summer. The trip takes Little Georgie several days, during which he outruns dogs and makes up a song about the new folks coming. Soon, all of the animals are singing it.
On their trip back to the Hill, Uncle Analdas points out that there are always new folks coming and new times around the corner. He tells Little Georgie about the many people he watched come and go through the land during his life, including soldiers, settlers and builders.
The animals on the Hill continue to speculate what new food the people might plant there. Moving vans arrive, and the animals believe the furniture indicates the new owners are quality people. A man, two women and a cat later arrive by car. The animals’ minds are eased when they see the cat is old and not anxious to chase anyone.
They continue to be impressed when they see that the new owners have put up a sign urging visitors to drive carefully due to small animals. Despite the urging of the workmen, the new family refuses to put up fences around their garden and asks that the groundhog’s burrow not be boarded up. The new folks save and nurse a drowning mouse, and the animals decide to be respectful of the family as they help themselves to the crops.
One dark night, the animals watch as the people’s car hits Little Georgie. The animals grieve, and a sense of gloom covers the Hill. Some days later, a field mouse rushes to Father and reports he’s seen Little Georgie alive. Little Georgie was in the house, lying in the lady’s lap with splints on his legs while the cat washed his face.
The animals regain a sense of hope, until some admit their suspicions of foul play. When one of the workmen delivers a large wooden crate, the animals are sure it contains traps and poisons to destroy them. Uncle Analdas even speculates it is gallows on which they plan to hang Little Georgie.
The animals are thrilled when Little Georgie appears in the yard, healthy and strong. The new man opens the suspicious crate. It houses a statue of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals. An inscription written on the statue assures there is enough for all.
Each evening, the new owners lay food by the statue for the animals. The animals vow they will not take any of the owners’ food because of these bountiful gifts. The workmen who visit the Hill are perplexed to see the new people’s garden remains untouched by the animals, even without fences, poisons or traps. The men say it must be beginner’s luck.
St. Francis of Assisi is mentioned.
Food is left by a statue of a saint for the animals.
Uncle Analdas and Mother sometimes let suspicions and worry color their view of life. Father is a friendly gentleman who chats with all the animals. The new owners are generous animal lovers who help and feed the neighborhood creatures.
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