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Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite
Butters Comes Home is a children’s book written by Claudette Melanson and illustrated by Rachel Montreuil. Butters is a rabbit who lives in a shed which contains tiny cages, all stacked on top of each other and side by side. Other rabbits live in the shed, as do many chickens. The floor of each cage is wire mesh, with poop falling onto the animals below or sticking to the wire. In summer, the shed is too hot for the chickens and rabbits, and in winter it is too cold. When Butters and his siblings are taken away from their mama and put into a different cage, they are sad. They only receive pellets at meal time. Butters’ feet hurt a lot because the bottom of the steel cage is not friendly to animal feet. People start coming to purchase his siblings, one by one, and take them away. Soon Butters is all alone and miserable. His feet hurt and his food is very boring. Alone and very depressed, one day Butters is approached by two humans who come into the shed and buy him. In the car (on the way to his new home), Butters pees on his new human and is scared she will take him back to the cage in the shed. He is surprised when instead she shows him nothing but love.
Both the story and the illustrations in Butters Comes Home are absolutely delightful. The story also describes the realistic beginning to many domesticated rabbits’ lives. Telling the story from Butters’ point of view is essential in teaching children that animals have feelings and need to be respected, loved and treated well. Claudette Melanson has conveyed this message very clearly and, accompanied with Rachel Montreuil’s unique and stunning illustrations, this is a book that will educate children, allowing them to understand how their pets may be feeling. As a former Veterinary Nurse, I feel that Butters Comes Home should be offered for sale not only at book stores, but also at animal shelters, showing both children and adults the right way to treat your new rabbit. This book is ideal for all children, especially those in the 3-10 age group.