This year, Emma’s first day of school is different. It isn’t because it’s fifth grade, or it’s a new school. It’s because she hasn’t gone to public school before in her life. Ever.
She and her older brother Owen have always been homeschooled. But last year, Owen gave public school a try, and now, Emma’s doing it too. She’s looking forward to everything, but most of all, she wants to make a best friend.
The night before school starts, Emma and her dad rescue a honey-colored rabbit caught in a fence. Emma knows they can only keep him until they learn who the real owners are, but she names him anyway—Lapi. Buy the next day, she can’t imagine ever letting him go.
Then school starts, and it’s harder than Emma expected. Everything is so new to her that she can’t keep track of it all. She has a hard time meeting people. At last, she devises a way that Lapi can help her make friends. But will even he be taken from her?
In her author’s note, Cynthia Lord explains that her daughter went from school to homeschooling, and much of her experiences were part of what shaped Because of the Rabbit. I’m not surprised. This book held a vivid, realistic portrayal of what it would be like to go to school for the first time. It was sometimes funny, sometimes poignant, sometimes sad, but felt completely real. Emma is a great main character who I really like. I highly recommend Because of the Rabbit to readers ages eight and up.