Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Won't You Read to Me? Wednesday

Okay, first things first, per the suggestion of Tiffany, I had planned to set up a Mr. Linky this week, but the day just got away from me. Next week I am going to try to have it up earlier AND try to have a Mr. Linky.

Last week I said I was going to start featuring some of my favorite "classic" baby books from my childhood. This week's book was one of my VERY favorites from an early age:

The Runaway Bunny
by Margaret Wise Brown
Illustrated by Clement Hurd

This wonderful little book was written and illustrated in 1942 by the same talented team that created the classic Goodnight Moon. It is about a little bunny rabbit who tells his mother he is going to run away and his mother's response to that declaration. The little bunny tells his momma that he is going to to run away and she replies "If you run away, I will run after you. For you are my little bunny". The ensuing dialog is just so sweet and the pictures SO imaginative and beautiful. The little bunny thinks of places he'll go and things he'll become and the momma bunny tells him specifically how she will run after him. When he says he'll become a fish, the mother tells him she will become a fisherman and fish for him and there is a beautiful drawing of a big bunny doing what looks like fly fishing with a carrot to try to catch her baby bunny. When he wants to be a bird, she is the tree he comes home to.
[This is probably my favorite illustration in the whole book.]

When he decides to be a crocus in a garden, she is, of course, the gardener. And when he joins the circus as a trapeze artist, she becomes a tightrope walker so she can walk across the air to get him. The "bunny banter", and an Amazon reviewer called it, is so precious. In the end, the little bunny decides he should just stay home with his mother.

I love this book for SO many reasons! One reason is because it is a very sweet book, but it is one that isn't "trying to hard". My professor in Children's Lit once said that many children's books that are really sweet and sentimental are actually geared toward adults. Well, this isn't one of them! It tells the sweetest story, but not in a way that is marketed to play on parents' emotions.

Another, related reason, is that it conveys a mother's love for her child is a very meaningful, but very easily understand, way. I remember even as a very young child thinking "My momma is JUST LIKE that momma bunny- she would run anywhere after me". I can't wait until Ann Peyton realizes that for the first time!

There are other, more silly reasons. Like that I basically have an infatuation with bunnies (can anybody guess the theme for "BunBun's" birthday? I'll give you a hint, it's right around Easter.). Another things is that I love to emphasize the line "For you are my little bunny". I am committed to bringing back the preposition FOR, as used in the context it is there. Like, I could say "I love you Peyton. For you are my Sweetie", or "I am going to get a Coca Cola now. For I have a craving", or even "The General is now an outside kitty. For he has worms". I have a problem with (intentionally and un) using the vernacular of books I am reading. For example, when I read Jane Austen books in high school, I would catch myself talking just like the characters. It could get embarrassing. I know it's mean, but I secretly hope Ann Peyton does the same thing, just because that would be

Anyway, if you've never read this book (I'm sure most everyone has- it is pretty well known) you need to. It's so phenomenal it has never been out of print since 1942 (I learned that just today when I was looking at it on Amazon).


Christy said...

This is one of my kids' favorite books :) I am just now posting mine because I forgot that yesterday was wednesday! HA!

2 little Boys said...

I wanted to let you know, that I LOVE children's books and was so happy when I stumbled across your weekly activity "Won't You Read to Me". Here is my post for this week.

Daily laying it at the Master's feet!
Laura Ann

Mary Louis Quinn said...

I loved that book as well!! I don't think Curran has it, so I will have to get my old copy the next time I'm home.

I'm sure you're aware of this, but in case you're not, Dolly Parton started Imagnation Library where they will send your child a book every month until they turn 5. And if there is a sibling, then they will make sure you get different books so none are repeated. It's sponsored by the Jr League. I just signed C up, so I can't wait to see what the first book will be!