This charming classic by the illustrious Margaret Wise Brown tells the story of a little bunny who decides he ought to leave home. He tells his mother his plans to run away from home and she replies that she will just run right after him. He then proposes to become a fish and swim away, and his mother replies that she will turn herself into a fisherman and catch him. He then proposes to turn into a rock, high above his mother’s reach, to which she replies that she will simply become a rock climber.
No matter what plans the little bunny hatches to leave home – turning into a flower, a bird, a tree or a sailboat, his mother determines to find him and bring him home. The little bunny decides that running away might not be the best plan, deciding instead to stay home in his mother’s arms and have a carrot.
I thought the book was charming, depicting a child’s desire to grow up and venture out on his own, yet being maybe not quite ready. The mother bunny showing up wherever the little bunny is by becoming part of the new landscape shows just how far a mother will go to be there for her child. This book would be comforting to a child who is perhaps going off to day care or preschool for the first time and anxious about being away from his or her family.
This book would be best used in a story time setting for children from the ages of 2 – 5.
Brown, Margaret Wise (1942). The Runaway Bunny. New York, Harper and Row Publishers.
When Michael Rex began parodying classic children’s literature with his own books, the first title he chose to make fun of was Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. Goodnight Goon has been quite the bestseller, and he’s now following it up with none other thanRunaway Mummy. A play on? You guessed it.
Runaway Bunny constitutes yet another divisive children’s title. Many people (most?) would say that it’s a sweet and comforting tale of a parent’s unconditional and eternal love for their child. But there is a segment of the population that finds the book disturbing. Some feel that the bunny is honestly trying to make a break for freedom, but that its mother is preventing this escape, and crushing its spirit. The book can be read a number of different ways, but generally it’s still a very well regarded picture book title.
Said Bethany Miller Cole of Children’s Literature about the book, “Clement Hurd’s black and white and colorful, dream-like illustrations grace spreads throughout the book, bringing to life perfectly the imagination of the young and the depth of love a parent has for a child. Children and the adults who love them will treasure this story.”
School Library Journal. Review: Runaway Bunny. Retrieved from http://blog.schoollibraryjournal.com/afuse8production/2009/04/07/top-100-picture-books-poll-results-75-71/
The Runaway Bunny, written by Margaret Wise Brown (most famous for Goodnight Moon) and illustrated by Clement Hurd, is a sweet story that tells the tale of a little bunny’s imaginative plans to run away. He will become a hidden crocus in a garden, a rock in a mountain and a fish, among other things.
For each of these plans, however, his mother has a “foiled-again” response — she will become a gardener, a mountain climber, a fisherman, etc.
There is no plan too wild or far-reaching that this little bunny’s mother will not come searching for him — truly a story of unconditional, all-reaching, all-surviving love. In the end, the little bunny decides he can stick it out with Mom since trying to run away would just be a waste of his time anyway, so Mom offers him a carrot and the deal is done.
Rook, P.J. Best Childrens Booka [Review of the book Runaway Bunny]. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.best-childrens-books.com/runaway-bunny.html