Book Review: The Runaway Bunny

Rating: ★★★★★

This is a delightfully comforting story of a little bunny who decides to run away from his mother.  When she informs him that she intends to follow him, he invents many imaginary scenes in which he is transformed into something else and escapes.  His mother enters each scene to complete it with an image of reunification: she becomes a fisherman to catch her trout, a gardener to find the hidden crocus in a garden, a tree for the bird to fly home to, and so on.  The illustrations change pleasingly page-to-page so that the imaginary scenes are in color, and the dialogue in black-and-white.  Children who have enjoyed Goodnight Moon will recognize an intertextual allusion when the bunny pretends to be a little boy running into a house, and this will add to their pleasure in the story.

This book playfully and gently underscores the unconditional love children ought to expect from their parents, and echoes God’s own relentless pursuit of human souls to be included in His household (Psalm 139:7-12; Ephesians 1:4-6).  It is an essential addition to any child’s library, but may be especially well suited for children who who experience anxiety about their place in the family — siblings of a new addition to the family, new adoptees, or children who have experienced trauma.

Although it is available in board book format, it may be best appreciated by children who are old enough to enter into focused imaginary play — about age two or three.  But even the youngest pre-readers will be able to enjoy finding the bunny in every page.

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Publication Information: Brown, Margaret Wise. Runaway Bunny, The. Hurd, Clement (Illustrator). HarperCollins. 1942. ISBN: 0064430189.
Categories: 5 Stars, Age 00-04, Books Children Love, Books That Build Character, Honey For a Child's Heart, Read-Aloud Handbook, World Books That Show, World Nifty 50
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Posted on August 29, 2009

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