Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Country Bunny

I took the girls to visit my parents last weekend.

David stayed home, purportedly to "catch up" or "get ahead" on dissertation work, so as to justify taking a week off to vacation in Arizona. Actually, he seemed to catch up on sleep (alone, naked, in the middle of the bed, MUST BE NICE) and maybe he also did some work, too.

Meanwhile, I single-handedly navigated my way across the state with two small children in the car. If you'd like a sense of how the drive went, let me give you this example:

As we were leaving my parents' house on Sunday, I got about two houses down the street and realized I may have left my sunglasses. I pulled into a driveway and turned around to head back and see if I'd left them on the kitchen counter (I hadn't--they were in my bathroom bag, but that's not important to the story). Zuzu asked what I was doing and when I explained that I needed to go back and get my sunglasses, she asked, "Do you know the way back?"

(We were TWO DRIVEWAYS away.)

I said yes.

She said, "Are we still in Nevada?"

I said, "No wonder this drive seems interminable to you."

But four and a half hours later, we made it home.

While we were hanging out with Grammy and Bops and the girls were soaking up the grandparental attention (from which Zuzu would brutally detox on Monday morning with a colossal meltdown when she had to get up and go to school), I put the girls to bed Saturday night and as we searched the hodge-podge of books at my mom's (minus my favorites, which I already confiscated and took home), I came across a treasure of a book called The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes.

picture from here

You guys. This is the BEST Easter book ever.

I vaguely remembered it from when I was little--that is, I remembered some of the illustrations once I started reading it to the girls.

But we must not have read it too often (and it may actually have been my mom's when she was little? Our copy is a slightly moldy paperback, published in 1967). But it's still in print! And it's a perfect Easter or pre-Easter treat.

What I somehow didn't recall from the book is the kick-ass message (also, I'm not the first person to notice this--turns out The New Yorker and the Washington Post were already on it).

Anyway, so perfect for this time of year, here we have the story of the Easter bunnies. According to the book, there are five Easter bunnies, and they are selected by a Grandfather Bunny who chooses not only the best and brightest and fastest of the bunnies, but also those who are kind-hearted. It's a huge honor to be chosen, so every bunny wants to be the Easter bunny, and you only get the chance to try out when one of the bunnies retires.

Anyway, there's a little brown country bunny who wants to be an Easter bunny, but she's a small, brown country bunny (and also a girl bunny), so it seems that there's no chance for her (Easter bunnies are white and have long legs, if you were wondering). Dreams deferred,* she grows up and meets mainstream social expectations by having a bunch of bunny babies (twenty-one to be precise).

So now the little country bunny is saddled with twenty-one bunny babies, and what does a single mom with twenty-one children do?

She teaches them to take care of themselves--they cook and clean and decorate (natch). Some of them also go into singing and dancing to keep up morale.

picture from here

So she's got all her bunny kids keeping house and entertaining her (one of them pulls out her chair when she sits down to dinner), and they get word that there's an opening on the Easter Bunny team, so they all go to watch the competition.

At this point, if I'd been ask to predict the plot, I would have said that one of her bunny babies (perhaps the chair puller-outer) would get selected as the new Easter bunny, and she would have the satisfaction of being the mother of an Easter bunny.

BUT NO.

The little country bunny HER DAMN SELF gets selected as Easter bunny because she's fast and clever and organized. And even though she's saddled with a litter of bunny babes, she's taught them all to be self-sufficient, so it's no trouble for her to travel for work.

And then she goes on an Easter bunny adventure that involves some struggle and setback and some magic shoes.

picture from here
I love this story! The story of a mama bunny whose career dreams are still alive even though she's got a few gray hairs and (undoubtedly) some loose skin and a bunch of whiny kiddos. She totally leans in, and she nails it.

Also it's less than ten bucks on Amazon right now. Stick in all the Easter baskets you've got.



*If you caught this reference, name it in the comments and you win an A in my literature class.

12 comments:

  1. Love this book; read it every spring for 40 years to elementary classrooms! Because you are so smart and wise, love it that you agree!

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    1. I will have to ask David if his elementary school has this book in their library. That's awesome that you read it to kids for so many years!

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  2. I have three books in my amazon cart on International Women's day and think I'll order this for MA for her Easter basket which is perfect as I always like to include a book! Thanks for the suggestion.

    21 baby bunnies. Go on with your bad self mama bunny.

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    1. Yes--MA needs this book on her shelf! And she should love the pictures. The illustrations are adorable.

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  3. Another great book for girls: https://www.rebelgirls.co/

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  4. I see I'm late to read this, and late with the Langston Hughes answer. I hope there's a consolation prize, or at the very least, a participation ribbon.

    We had this book as a child. My mom won't let me have it, so we read it at her house. I love it. She also read it to her classroom each year.

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  5. Thank you for the recommendation! Ordering it now.

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  6. I bought this for my 3-year old for Easter two years ago because I'd had it when I was a child and it's just about the only Easter book I can stand. My mother didn't remember it, though I definitely remember it being part of our Easter tradition. However, I didn't realize how truly awesome the story was until I was older. And yeah, it's totally awesome. It's one of my favorite books from my childhood.

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  7. I don't remember this book, but besides the fabulous message, the illustrations are adorable!!

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