Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Book Review - The Runaway Bunny

This is probably a classic, but we checked it out from the library for the first time this week, so it is new to us. Little girl picked it out on behalf of the child (who was at school but asked us to get a book for her, too.) The author, Margaret Wise Brown, is probably best known for the book "Goodnight Moon." She seems to have a mild fascination with bunnies, and this alone has made her the target of humorous parodies. Be forewarned that "The Runaway Bunny" is unashamedly sweet. If that sort of thing makes you roll your eyes and look for the nearest exit then I guess this book is not for you, but if you want to start a conversation with your kids about how much you love them and how you will always be there for them...check it out.

The story begins with a little bunny who wants to run away. (Know any kids that have threatened to run away?) He informs his mother of his plans. One by one she meets his escape routes. If he vows to turn into a sailboat then she promises to be the wind that moves him across the sea. If he becomes of fish then she becomes a fisherman luring him from the water with carrots. One of the best pieces of the book is the pictures by Clement Hurd. In each scenario he presents a two page full color spread showing the mother patiently meeting each persona the bunny tries on. I particularly love the bird imagery in which the mother bunny becomes a tree for the bunny-bird to come home to. The sailboat is also quite touching. In one last ditch effort the bunny decides he will turn into a boy and run into a house. The mother says she will be the mother in the house waiting there with a big hug for him. The picture of this scene would fit right into the pages of "Goodnight Moon." The little bunny realizes this last effort is basically where he's at anyway, so he'll just stay put after all. "Very well, have a carrot," replies the calm mother.

Perhaps every child/parent relationship has its moments when one or the other wishes they could run away. I know I've been there myself, on both sides. I think what struck me the most about this story is the effective portrayal of mother love. The love that says,"No matter where you go or what you do I will be there, and I will be on your side even when you think I'm not." I know I want my children to feel that kind of security from me.  Books like The Runaway Bunny create an opportunity to sit with your child at the end of a hard day and tell them, in so many words, "I love you and I will be here."

I want to know how many of you have already read this book and love it...and I want to know what other sweet books you read when you want your children to feel your love right down to their toes.


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