This isn’t Michelle Lander Feinberg’s first time telling Cooper’s story. In the previous book of this duology, “Please Don’t Tell Cooper He’s a Dog,” the reader was first introduced to Cooper’s antics. It seems that the loveable, oversized rescue dog doesn’t know how to ... well, be a dog. Rather than playing fetch and doing tricks, he prefers going to the ballet and enjoying an expensive steak sauce over his kibble. His surprisingly refined tastes tell us that when it comes to Cooper, always expect the unexpected.
In the new installment “Please Don’t Tell Cooper That Jack is a Rabbit” (SDP Publishing), our canine hero is as exuberant as ever. Still, Cooper feels like there’s something missing. He has so much energy and love to share with the world, but what is he going to do while his human family is away at work or school?
When Cooper spots a stray rabbit, he knows that’s exactly who he’s been looking for. It’s the perfect opportunity to make a new friend! Those around Cooper aren’t so sure, however. What could this rabbit and Cooper possibly have in common?
Still, Cooper is undeterred. He chases the hare through the pages of the book, stopping traffic and crashing a fifth-grade cookout. Finally, once Cooper catches up with the rabbit, the two of them become fast friends. The rabbit introduces himself as Jack and agrees to come back to Cooper’s house. In a scene that’s reminiscent of a young child making the case for getting a dog, Cooper asks to let Jack stay with the family and assures them that he’ll do all the work to take care of him.
Cooper’s family can’t say no to those puppy dog eyes! No one expected a dog to take to a rabbit like that, but Cooper is far from a normal dog. And as he and Jack went on adventures and got into mischief, everyone could see that the two were meant to be best friends. Despite what people assumed at first, Cooper and Jack forged a bond to outlast everyone’s expectations. Who says a dog and a rabbit can’t be friends? Not Cooper and Jack, that’s for sure!
TWICE THE FUN
Rather than dial back on the fun, Cooper now gets up to twice the mischief and mayhem with Jack by his side — much to every reader’s delight. As they hop from page to page, Anna Mosca’s watercolor illustrations capture the duo’s boundless energy. She includes montages of the two friends sailing, playing mini-golf or having a rockin’ jam session on the drums and guitar! Feinberg’s rhyming verses accompany each illustration, tying every adventure together into a feel-good story of friendship.
After all, the most important part of the story isn’t the beach where Cooper and Jack go sailing, or the electric guitar Jack shreds on during their garage band practice. The true essence of the story is that Cooper and Jack looked past their differences to build a friendship that most people thought would be impossible. Through Cooper and Jack’s example, readers can apply that lesson to their own lives and build meaningful relationships free of prejudice. Kids will be encouraged to look outside their own identities and be open to all possibilities of friendship, not just what’s the most familiar to them. By internalizing the lesson of “Please Don’t Tell Cooper That Jack is a Rabbit,” young readers can learn that no matter where a companion comes from or what they look like — the two of them can have a truly special friendship, just like Cooper and Jack.