The Rabbit Problem
By Emily Gravett (and a lot of rabbits)
32 pages, ages 4 and up
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2010
If you put one pair of baby rabbits into a field, how many rabbits will there be at the end of a month? At the end of one year? Emily Gravett considers this question, posed by Fibonacci back in the 13th-century, in a book that reads like a calendar – complete with errands scribbled in the day’s boxes, sticky notes and a booklet on things to do with carrots.
As for the math, as with any problem there are rules. In this case: no rabbits may leave the field and a few basic assumptions about how fast rabbits produce offspring. There’s also a bunch of unexpected tangents: what do rabbits do in the winter when it’s freezing outside? Are there rabbit parenting guides? What do we do with all these kids all summer? Soon you’ve got chaos.
Gravett has fun illustrating the social life of an ever-increasing rabbit community: they need food; they create a community newspaper (complete with horoscopes); they deal with issues of diet and exercise. And always, she keeps her eye on the population count – leaving you to do the math. When things get too crowded, the rabbits take matters into their own hands and change the rules. You don’t need to understand Fibonacci to enjoy this book – but it helps…
It's Picture Book Month, so share a good book with a kid you love. Review copy provided by the publisher.