Rabbit Chase graphic novel review | But gossiping is one of the most important things we do!

Rabbit Chase by Elizabeth Lapensee and KC Oster and Aarin Dokum
120 pages
publishes April 5th, 2022

Anishinaabe culture and storytelling meet Alice in Wonderland in this coming-of-age graphic novel that explores Indigenous and gender issues through a fresh yet familiar looking glass.

Aimée, a non-binary Anishinaabe middle-schooler, is on a class trip to offer gifts to Paayehnsag, the water spirits known to protect the land. While stories are told about the water spirits and the threat of the land being taken over for development, Aimée zones out, distracting themselves from the bullying and isolation they’ve experienced since expressing their non-binary identity. When Aimée accidentally wanders off, they are transported to an alternate dimension populated by traditional Anishinaabe figures in a story inspired by Alice in Wonderland.

To gain the way back home, Aimée is called on to help Trickster by hunting down dark water spirits with guidance from Paayehnsag. On their journey, Aimée faces off with the land-grabbing Queen and her robotic guards and fights the dark water spirits against increasingly stacked odds. Illustrated by KC Oster with a modern take on their own Ojibwe style and cultural representation, Rabbit Chase is a story of self-discovery, community, and finding one’s place in the world.

I loved the concept of this book – the art style reminds me of the book “Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy” by Rey Terciero and Bre Indigo. I’m not versed in Ashinabee culture at all, and it felt jarring — but you know what? This book doesn’t have to be for me. Maybe you’re familiar with Ashinabee folktales and this book will be for you! I loved that Aimee was nonbinary, and I loved their journey through the “rabbit path”. Four stars.

Bookshop link.

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