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.
Written by Elizabeth LaPensée and illustrated by KC Oster. Anishinaabemowin translation by Aarin Dokum.
Grade: 3–7 | Reading Age: 8–12
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Rabbit Chase is available through Annick Press, an independent children’s publisher based in Toronto, Canada. It is also available through Amazon, Target, Bookshop.org and other retailers.Visit the Book's Website
Aimée is a non-binary Anishinaabe youth who plays a lot of video games and spends a lot of time on their phone. They live with their mom and visit their Grandparents often. They appreciate plant knowledge, Anishinaabemowin, and drawing, especially when they have homework due.
The Trickster spirit who reveals himself to Aimée is Jiibayaabooz, Nanaboozhoo’s brother. He takes the form of a white rabbit and is known for guiding the spirits on their way through the Milky Way to the stars back home.
The Queen is a figure of control who is obsessed with replacing traditional plants with her own flowers she has named herself and taking control of land for settlements for her admirers. She spends most of her time in isolation signing papers.
Dibaajimo’iganan (Story Parts)
Words and images are the parts of a story that enter the mind of a listener, or reader, to help them see and share ideas. The panels and pages below are just a few of the story parts of Rabbit Chase.
Nindayaa apane ayaayaan.
I am always right where I am.
Minwendaanaawaa paayehnsag bagidinamaagoowaad weshki-aya’aajin mskwaabikoon miinawaa mnoomin besho zinaakobiiganong.
Wee Ones like to be offered copper and rice by young people near the petroglyphs.
Wenji-gikendaamowaad paayehnsag eta endazhi gaazonid nibi-maanidoon maada’oonidiwaad nibi.
Only the wee people know where the water spirits hide because they share the water.
Giwii-dagonaan ina ziigwaagmideng makade-aboo?
Would you like to coffee with your maple syrup?
Awegonen nawanj gichi-inendaagwag miinan miinawaa ziigwaagmide?
What could be more important than berries and maple syrup?
Aimée bawaadaan gichi-maanamegwan omisadaning aandegwan naanzhiibizonid.
Aimée dreams the crow enters the belly of a whale.
Ogii-inaakonige Ogimaakwe waabigwaniin wii-agokiwaajigenid odakiing.
By right of the queen her flowers will mark the borders of her lands.
Aabideg ganawendan ezhi-inendaman miinawaa ezhi-ayaayan.
You must practice protecting your mind and emotions.
Nookizin apii maamidonendaman miinawaa minwendaagoziyan.
Be tender with your mind and heart.
Gaawiin ginizhikewizisiimin. Nimbagosendaan bakinaageyang!
We’re not alone. I hope we win!
Aabideg gidaa-mikwenimaag bemaadizijig zoongide’ewaad.
Always remember those in your life who are good of heart.
aambe – come on, come here
Aaniish go naa aapji?! – Jeez! / What in the world?! / What on earth?!
baashknjibgwaan – trillium
Baamaapii ka waamin – See you later
Boozhoo – Greetings!
ehn – yes
jiimaanan – canoes
makade-aaboo – coffee (black water)
miigwech – thanks, thank you
miinan – blueberries
minwaa – and/also
mnoomin – wild rice
mskwaabik – copper (red metal)
Nbagminaandam – I am becoming hungry.
Ngiisaadendam – I am sorry. / I feel regret. / I am sad.
niikaane – my older brother
odeminan – strawberries
Paayehnsag – Little People, water spirits, rock spirits
shtaahaa – wow!
zgime’ig – mosquitoes
zhaagnaashag – white people
ziiwaagmide – maple syrup
zinaakobiiganan – petroglyphs
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