Two master strategists go head to head—or nose to nose—in Down the Hole, a wickedly funny picture book written by Scott Slater and illustrated by Adam Ming.
As he’s done many times before, Fox positions himself at the edge of the meadow, above a hole in the ground, ready to make his move: “There were bunnies in that hole. Not as many as there used to be, of course, but there were still a few left. He was certain of that.”
Pretending to look for help, Fox calls underground, and his yells are received with what seems at first like a friendly response. Rabbit is willing to help out poor old Fox, but he just needs a bit more information first. While Fox connives to lure Rabbit up to the surface, Rabbit puts his own plan into motion and masterfully uses stalling tactics to get Fox exactly where he wants him.
Clever dialogue, mounting suspense and humor combine to create a picture book that’s sure to leave young listeners on the edge of their seat. Careful observers will eventually be able to deduce Fox’s fate from a two-page spread that might prompt knowing squeals during what’s sure to be a raucous read-aloud.
Adam Ming’s richly hued illustrations, digitally rendered but with hand-painted textures, effectively impart the animal adversaries with winningly human facial expressions: raised eyebrows, worried grimaces and even a smirk or two. The action takes place above and below the earth’s surface—sometimes both at the same time—and rapidly changes in scale. A plethora of little details, especially concerning Rabbit and his accomplices, help maintain visual interest in one rabbit hole readers won’t mind falling down over and over again.