Fiction Friday is a series where I talk about what I’ve been reading. Short Stories (and sometimes Novellas) are featured as in-between posts and the first Friday of the month will feature a new novel review. Today, I review Rabbit Grass by Kelly Stewart, narrated by Julie Hoverson
Fiction Friday: Rabbit Grass
Let me get one thing out of the way. I love rabbits. Bunnies, buns, hoppers, you name it. Some people like cool animals like lions, wolves, and dragons. And I like them too. But something about bunnies makes me smile. Their face, eyes, their small, bushy tail. The way they wiggle their nose. They’re the perfect level of cuteness. Plus, they’re perfectly carefree.
I love the little bunnies, so when I found out that both PodCastle and Beneath Ceaseless Skies have a story about a rabbit, I decided to take a look. Today’s story is Rabbit Grass by Kelly Stewart, narrated by Julie Hoverson. It’s featured in PodCastle and originally appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies. You can find it here.
This is a lighthearted story that’s sure to put a smile on anyone’s face. Let’s move away from the violence, war, and sex and go through some good ol’ fashioned make-believe.
The story is a fairy tale about a girl named Aril and her garden. She’s visited by a young rabbit named Picket who wants a taste of her garden. However, the true reason is that he’s trying to save his mother, who has fallen ill due to a fever. He hopes to enlist Aril’s help to obtain the fabled Rabbit Grass, the only cure the young rabbit can think of.
This story is rated PG-13, but I disagree. This can be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of age. It’s innocent, carefree, little violence or political messages. It’s a story that only has to be entertaining. It’s the kinds of stories I love, the ones that don’t have to rely on massive plot twists, numerous deaths, or even hardcore violence or sex to be entertaining. Not that there’s anything wrong with the above, but sometimes, I want a story. Something I can sit down, read for an hour or two, and then feel happy about the world.
I feel like a lot of the world relies on too many of the same entertainment tropes. Movies are all about action and explosions, fantasy tries too hard to emulate Tolkien, Jordan, or Martin, TV shows are getting predictable in storytelling. Sometimes, we need something simpler.
While it’s not the most interesting or creative story I’ve read, it does its job. It’s a harmless fairy tale about a woman who speaks to a talking rabbit (possibly humanoid judging by the description, like Bugs Bunny, perhaps?) and finds magical grass to feed his rabbit family. It’s whimsical in execution and a good example of modern fairy tales that don’t rely on emulating its successors like Grimm or Anderson.
This appears to be a southern-style story due to the accent. The narrator also did a southern drawl to emulate the First Person narrator, Aril. The narration was good, and perfect for the whimsical storytelling told here. I always enjoy Escape Artists’s narration and they all do a wonderful job. They fit the tone of the story perfectly and all of them embrace the characters as I imagine them.
One thing I should note is that the rabbits do appear to be anthropomorphic rather than talking bunnies. Again, they remind me of the kind like Bugs Bunny in that they’re rabbit people rather than something like Peter Rabbit, who’s a plain old rabbit who can talk and walk on his hind legs. In my novel WIP I’m working on, the Rodani are the latter, but they’re dressed like the characters in this story.
That’s only one example, but I did imagine them for a brief moment as an ordinary rabbit. I felt this would have given it a whimsical feel and truly makes the world into a make-believe storybook world that Fairy Tales tend to be. Imagining them like Bugs is fine and all and this is all personal taste, but I feel that imagining them as either fits the world well.
I also felt that this could have been more in the style of the boy who cried wolf, where the rabbit is a trickster who is always stealing from Aril, only to realize that he has a motive to help his sick mother. It doesn’t have to be violent, but I felt the story was a little too tame for the audience it’s trying to reach. It’s good that he was a kind-hearted soul who just wanted food, and while he wouldn’t have to be the laughing kind, I felt a little more playful antagonism between Picket and Aril that still retains its innocence, while providing a world that is still kind even if sickness exists.
So that’s the story. A good fairy tale that eases those who want a lighter side of fantasy. Share it with your kids and take part in a wonderful journey.
That’s all for today. Take care, and remember, the inn is always open.
If you have any suggestions for future topics and reviews, hit me up on my social media channels and let me know your thoughts. I always read the feedback, even if I don’t respond. Your feedback is what keeps me going, so thank you for supporting me.
My Japanese Mythology-inspired short story, Do Not Stare Into The Eyes Of A Kitsune, is finally available. You can buy it on Amazon or wherever ebooks are sold. Help a debut author make his debut worth it.
I announced other works, including a kaiju-themed “mini-novel” (which you can learn about here) and a short story anthology in the near future. This is only the beginning for me and I have more to share.