Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes

The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes
Du Bose Heyward ~ Majorie Flack
Houghton and Mifflin, 1939

Though this is a fairly obvious pre-Easter pick, it is THE best Easter book of all time, so I HAD to mention it. Unfortunately, my mom still won't release my childhood copy, but she did get my son a vintage edition for his first Easter. If you don't know this book, then you've been living under a rock in a world where the sun doesn't shine, birds have never uttered a peep, rainbows are fiction and all smiles turn upside down. If you do know this book, well then, your folks did good by you.

This was my ALL TIME favorite story as a child. The Country Bunny is the kind of book that dreams are made of. The kind of book that helps shape the way you look at holidays (and the world) forever. The kind of book that inspires girls to become presidents and children's book bloggers. The kind of book that is more like a member of the family than an inanimate object that sits on a cluttered bookshelf. I could literally wax poetic for a lifetime about why this book is so incredibly special (particularly if you are a GIRL!) But alas... I'll let the words and the pictures speak for themselves.

One day a little country girl bunny with a brown skin
and a little cotton-ball of a tail said, "Some day I shall
grow up to be the Easter Bunny: you wait and see!"
Then all of the big white bunnies who lived in fine houses,
and the Jack Rabbits with long legs who can run fast,
laughed at the little Cottontail and told her to go
back to the country and eat a carrot.
But she said, "Wait and see!"

Every single word and frame of this book is so deeply ingrained in my heart, I couldn't possibly cherish it more. You can't choose the books your kids are gonna fall in love with, but it would be pretty hard to not fall for this one head over heals. Simply the best of the best.

I never knew much about this book except that its author was from the South Carolina lowcountry like me until I started researching it this morning. Ends up that the story was one he used to tell to his daughter (thus the "AS TOLD TO JENIFER" on the cover), and it was his only children's book... within a year of its publication, he was dead of a heart attack. Check out this very sentimental write-up of the history here.

Also by:
The Story About Ping
Tim Tadpole and the Great Bullfrog
Angus and the Cat


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Amanda said...

I just added this to my baby registry earlier this morning! I'm sure my copy from childhood is packed away somewhere, but it won't hurt to have two copies...
This book holds some of the most vivid imagery for me.

Anonymous said...

"...for they were wise and kind and knew better."

I have dearly, dearly loved this book ever since I was little. It still brings tears to my eyes! I was back home in Charleston visting my family a couple years ago and I got to see some of the original art for this book that was being exhibited at the Gibbes. I felt so lucky! Thanks for posting about this beautiful book.

I found your blog by searching for Richard Scarry images and I am so delighted with it! I, too, am thirty-something, adore old children's books, and grew up in South Carolina. Now I live in Atlanta and am a children's librarian- and my husband's from San Antonio! I shall have to drop by your blog regularly now....

Claire said...

Another gem! I want this one just for me, never mind sharing with my son.
fingers crossed!

Christina said...

Lucked out at the thrift store today! Thanks for the recommendation.

Burgin Streetman said...


AKA Jane Random said...

As an adult I appreciate this book for different reasons than I did as a child. As a child it was all about the bright colors, the adventure the country rabbit has and the comfort I took in my Grandmother's arms as she read it to me. As an adult I'm impressed with the Country Bunny who was so adept at teaching her children to be responsible and useful!

Anonymous said...

This is on the short list of children's books I absolutely cannot read without tearing up (others on the list: The Lorax, Roxaboxen, The Velveteen Rabbit). An absolute treasure.

Danzel @Silver Shoes and Rabbit Holes said...

You're right - this may be the BEST Easter book of all time. xoxo

Melissa said...

I have been haunted by the beauty of this book all my life.

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