The Remarkable Rescue at Milkweed Meadow
Elaine Dimopoulos, author
Elaine Dimopoulos holds an MFA in Writing from the Simmons University Center for the Study of Children’s Literature where she is now faculty. Elaine has received the Boston Public Library Writer-in-Residence Award and was named a St. Botolph Club Emerging Artist. She is the author of Material Girls and Turn the Tide. Elaine lives in Belmont, MA.
Read more about Elaine.
Doug Salati, illustrator
Doug Salati is the illustrator of several books for children, including Pip and Zip and Lawrence in the Fall. He is also the author and illustrator of the picture book Hot Dog.
Read more about Doug.
- Coming soon!
Kirkus Reviews, starred review
A wild rabbit narrates a tale of friendship, bravery—and storytelling.
Young Butternut and her siblings receive an in-depth education from their mother, who in turn learned from Butternut’s grandmother Sage, a wise, experienced rabbit who’s determined to keep her family safe. Humor shines through as Butternut describes lessons in survival, storytelling, and grooming. Grandmother tells the younger rabbits that just as monarch butterflies have the advantage of eating milkweed (which makes them toxic and keeps them safe from predators), “Our milkweed is our brain power.” Despite her family’s misgivings, Butternut—known for her “brambles” (or anxiety) and storytelling prowess—befriends Piper, a baby robin who enjoys using alliteration. The duo soon start venturing out at night to help an injured fawn, and more adventures ensue as Butternut slowly learns that there are some things in life worth taking risks for. By the time of the titular rescue, a host of secondary characters have been introduced, including a bullying blue jay and a “little female human.” Cleverly, the text uses Butternut’s voice to point out literary devices and techniques as she tells her tale. Witty, engaging, and heartfelt, this novel compares favorably with Cynthia Voigt’s gray squirrel odyssey, Toaff’s Way (2018), expertly entwining actual, observed facts about wildlife with whimsical anthropomorphism. The charming illustrations complement the text and show the girl to be light-skinned.
Use your milkweed: Read this!
Publishers Weekly, starred review
An anxious young rabbit with a gift for storytelling narrates this intimately voiced, community-centered novel by Dimopoulos (Turn the Tide), which explores the value of crossing species lines and the bravery required to live in the world. When a birdseed-controlling blue jay eats a robin’s egg in an act of retribution, Milkweed Meadow’s young bunnies—taught to “stay alive” via brainpower and rigid rules—are told to “worry about the burrow-dwellers only.” But young Butternut, an anxious rabbit who thrills at the stories recounted in her family’s root room, wonders about the event’s communal and long-term effects. Butternut soon meets a gregarious, newly fledged robin named Piper, and they encounter and befriend an injured fawn, acts that eventually lead to a cooperative rescue of creatures in dire need. As Butternut’s world grows larger (“I’d performed a feat of athleticism. I’d met a young robin that spoke like an old poet”), her action-packed adventures with Piper underline the way that a survivalist mentality can come at the cost of a compassionate, connected, meaningful life. Occasional illustrations by Salati (Hot Dog), in graphite and gouache, elegantly depict wildlife scenes. Ages 8–11.
Page count: 192
51/2 x 81/4