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From the Studio

By Kevin Henkes

Little White Rabbit is my forty-second book; all were published by Greenwillow Books. In a nutshell, Little White Rabbit is about a curious child wondering about himself and his surroundings until he experiences a brief, sudden fright and goes home.

It wasn’t until I had finished the art for Little White Rabbit that I discovered that it was essentially a retelling (minus the scare) of my first book, All Alone (1981). Both the human hero of All Alone and little white rabbit have similar experiences in the natural world. Both have rich interior lives.

Here is little white rabbit wondering “what it would be like to be tall.”

LWR tall Greenwillow

And here is the unnamed narrator of All Alone imagining that he is “tall enough to taste the sky.”
 All Alone tall Greenwillow

It has been said that writers have only one story to tell and that we simply retell it in different ways from various angles. This may or may not be true. It’s one of those assessments that’s easier for someone other than the writer to make. But I do know that I’m repeatedly drawn to write about children who imagine and about the inner worlds of sensitive kids.

Here are a few very early sketches I did as I was trying to figure out how to illustrate Little White Rabbit.

sketch 1 Greenwillow
sketch 2 Greenwillow
sketch 3 Greenwillow

Although it is rough and small (2 ½ in. x 2 in.), when I did sketch #3, I knew I had what I wanted. I used a green line (acrylic paint) and colored pencils for the finished art.

I usually have a favorite illustration in each of my books. This is my favorite illustration in Little White Rabbit.

fav illus sketch Greenwillow
fav illus final Greenwillow
Although he is wondering “what it would be like not to be able to move,” I’ve drawn little white rabbit soaring above the rock, surrounded by sky, the horizon line low, his shape echoed by the clouds. My goal was to create a nice play between words and image. The image also presages the upcoming image of him fluttering through the air.

There is always the search for the perfect image to heighten the ideas contained in the words, the search to enhance the ideas and to advance them. That search is what keeps my job interesting.

Little White Rabbit GreenwillowKevin Henkes is the author of many award-winning books for children, including Little White Rabbit, which goes on sale today!


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Martha Mihalick, Red Balloon Bookshop. Red Balloon Bookshop said: RT @curiousmartha A terrific post from Kevin Henkes on the GWB blog today, w/ early sketches of LITTLE WHITE RABBIT! http://bit.ly/fOw5Il […]

  2. Bryan Chick says:

    I am so excited about this book! I can’t wait to share it with my kids.

  3. […] In honor of the pub date for Little White Rabbit, the Greenwillow blog has Kevin Henkes talking about the creation of the new book, and its similarities to his very first book. Check it out. […]

  4. I just wanted to let you know that The Classroom Bookshelf: Teaching with Children’s and Young Adult Literature in the 21st Century just posted this week’s entry on Little White Rabbit. You can find us at http://www.classroombookshelf.blogspot.com/.


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