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Colin Krainin
Three stuffed animals—Mr. Rabbit, Benny the Bunny, and Custerd the Cat—embark on an epic journey to find a long-lost friend. Their quest takes them all the way from their home in New York City to the heart of the Australian outback.

Quarter Finalist

Plot/Idea: 9 out of 10
Originality: 9 out of 10
Prose: 10 out of 10
Character/Execution: 9 out of 10
Overall: 9.25 out of 10


Plot/Idea: Krainin has a flair for storytelling, and his nostalgic writing will spark reminiscences for every reader. He effortlessly weaves the adventures of Mr. Rabbit and Benny with the other animal protagonists in a way that mirrors human trials, transporting readers on a contemplative quest that is brimming with double meaning.

Prose: Krainin is gifted at mimicking wistful language styles from earlier time periods, creating a whimsical sensation throughout the story. The lyrically beautiful prose moves the novel along brilliantly, adding thoughtful introspections in the most fitting of places.

Originality: Hop-About is evocative of classical anthropomorphism and awash with lessons of morality set against animal fables. Krainin successfully elicits a full range of emotions for readers, most notably his dark and haunted ode to the lost innocence of childhood.

Character Development/Execution: Krainin has studied heirloom tales to good effect, manifesting in a dreamlike portrayal of wistful belonging and a desperate yearning for home that will resonate with readers of all ages. Each character, including the foreboding antagonist, is intimately developed and will tug at readers’ heartstrings.

Blurb: A euphoric imagining, rich with symbolism and metaphor. 

Date Submitted: April 15, 2022

Kirkus Reviews

"Stuffed animals search for a long-lost friend in this debut literary fantasy for all ages ... Colin Krainin achieves something remarkable in his accomplished and poignant novel ... An extraordinarily moving, powerful tale about the resilience of grace and the joy of friendship." -Kirkus Reviews (starred review)