A young rabbit learns to see the world in a new way in the picture book Grandma Told Me the World Is Alive.
Mimi, a little girl rabbit, wonders why the sun shines and why the sky is so high. No grownups answer her until she visits her Grandma, who tells her it’s “because the world is alive.” Grandma explains that plants “breathe” and the sky protects us from harmful rays. She continues with other examples and adds that the world has a heart “full of love and compassion – for the growth of all life.” With this new understanding, Mimi begins watering flowers “because now she knows that the world is alive.”
The book carries a clear, environmentally conscious message showing the world as a dynamic place in which different parts serve different purposes but all work together. The message is constrained somewhat by leaps of logic: While plants and trees are definitely alive, the sun, mountains and sky don’t fit those criteria. But the illustrations anthropomorphize trees, flowers, sky, sun and mountains with appealing, smiling faces indicating that all are “alive.”
The art is outstanding and elegantly simple. Using just a few lines and colors, Mimi and her Grandma come to life, each character’s age indicated by a couple of minor pen strokes. The sun is rendered as a smiling circle surrounded by six triangles, with a larger aura of warmth and light emanating from it. Mountains, sky, and flowers are depicted with similar style.
Although the art and font are appealing, the text is marred by grammatical mistakes and inconsistent punctuation, in addition to the confused idea of what is “alive.” For example, Mari asks, “Why does the sun shines?” The next page informs readers that “no grownups would not answer her.”
While its text is not as polished as its art, the story resonates as a graceful call to greater ecological awareness and stewardship.