Rabbits are a familiar animal to us: they are relatively small and cute, and they evoke the feeling of sympathy, innocence, and vulnerability. Most children will probably feel affection for them.
Since we, parents, were young, we felt close and intimate to rabbits. It is known that rabbits are the third most common pet in the UK after dogs and cats. (Source). Rabbits are also a very popular pet in the US. (Source). Since we were young, we have been exposed to rabbits a lot on TV and in the picture books. Some examples are Peter Rabbit and Bugs Bunny.
Several recommendable pictures books on rabbits are introduced herein, hoping that these books will nourish our children’s minds and thoughts.
(Author: Margaret Wise Brown, Illustrator: Clement Hurd, Age range: 1~4 years)
In a great green room, there are a lot of objects such as a telephone, a red balloon, a picture of the cow, a picture of three little bears, two little kittens, a pair of mittens, a little toy house, young mouse, a comb, a brush, a bowl full of mush, and a quiet old lady (rabbit).
Then, the book says good night to all the objects and characters such as room, moon, cow, light, the red balloon, bears, chairs, kittens, mittens, clocks, socks, little house, mouse, comb, brush, nobody, mush, the old lady, stars, air, noises everywhere.
Goodnight Moon was written by Margaret Wise Brown (1910 ~ 1952) in 1947. It is one of the most well-known books written by Margaret Wise Brown.
This book is not particularly related to rabbits, but the old lady in the book is a rabbit, so introduced in this article. The plot is simple. First, a lot of objects and animals are introduced. Then, Good night is said to all the objects. Although the plot is simple, its contents, graphics, and the structure of this book are highly recommendable.
Our children can think where each object is in the pictures of the room. Paying attention can be practiced by reading this book. Moreover, our children can think about several abstract concepts such as air, nobody, and noises through reading this book. Goodnight Moon is highly recommendable for our young children.
the tale of Peter Rabbit
(Author and Illustrator: Beatrix Potter, Age range: 3~7 years)
There were a mother rabbit and her four children named Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail, and Peter. The mother told her children not to enter the vegetable garden of Mr. McGregor because their father had an accident there and ended up in a pie. Unlike his siblings, Peter was mischievous and disobedient. He went into Mr. McGregor’s vegetable garden, then he ate more than enough and felt sick. While he was there, he was found by Mr. McGregor. Then, Mr. McGregor tried to catch Peter, and he barely escaped while losing his little blue jacket and shoes. While coming back to his rabbit hole, he found that his lost jacket and shoes were worn by a scarecrow. Peter managed to come back to his rabbit hole. His mother scolded him for being disobedient and losing his jacket and shoes. He felt sick and sent to his bed. His mom gave him chamomile tea to cure his sickness. While Peter was having only chamomile tea, his three siblings had a sumptuous supper of bread, milk, and blackberries.
It was said that Beatrix Potter wrote the tale of Peter Rabbit for a five-year-old boy in 1893. After several rejections by the publishers and revision changes, the book was first published in 1902. Since then, it was translated into 36 languages, and 45 million copies were sold. It is one of the best-selling books in history. (source)
The book shows that disobeying one’s parents may cause a lot of troubles, and it can be extremely dangerous sometimes. A lot of discussion with children can be followed after reading this book, such as “what was the consequence of disobeying parents?”.
By the way, Peter’s character might be seen from a different angle. Although he was disobedient, he was adventurous and curious. Those characteristics might be an essential virtue when creativity is highly demanding.
The illustration is picturesque and eye-catching. There are many scenes which make us smile. The scene of Peter’s questioning to a mouse, “where is the gate?”, was particularly funny and cute. The mouse could not answer because its mouth was full of food.
the Runaway bunny
(Author: Margaret Wise Brown, Illustrator: Clement Hurd, Age range: 0~5 years)
A little bunny wanted to run away from his mother. When he said so, his mother said she would run after him. He kept saying that he would run away from her. Whenever he said so, his mother kept answering that she would follow and find him. The continuing conversations are somewhat interesting and cute, as shown below.
|Little bunny will become||Mother will find him by becoming|
|Rock on a mountain high above you||A mountain climber|
|A Crocus in a hidden garden||A gardener|
|A bird||A tree|
|Join a circus||A tightrope walker|
|A little boy||the little boy’s mother|
Finally, a little bunny said that he would be staying with his mother, and he got a carrot from his mother.
The Runaway Bunny was written by Margaret Wise Brown (1910~1952). It is two of the best-known books along with Good Night Moon as introduced above. A lot of us (parents) probably had thought of running away from our parents when we were young. Likewise, the little bunny wanted to run away from his mom. But his mother said she would find him no matter what. The story is about the unconditional love of parents. Mothers will protect their children in any circumstance. This book reminds me of “the giving tree” by Shel Silverstein.
Little White Rabbit
(Author and Illustrator: Kevin Henkes, Age range: 4~8 years)
When a little white rabbit hopped through the high grass, he wondered what if he becomes green.
When he hopped by the fir trees, he wondered what if he becomes tall.
When he hopped over the rock, he wondered what if he could not move.
When he hopped under the butterflies, he wondered what if he flutters through the air.
When he hopped past the cat, he was too frightened to wonder anything
After he came home, he still wondered about many things, but he was sure of his mother’s love.
It is about the curiosity of a little rabbit. Whenever he is in a new circumstance, he wonders what if he becomes that object. Even a lot of us have thought about “What if I become” since we were young. What if I become a millionaire? What if I become Superman or Wonder-woman? A lot of imagination is introduced with beautiful illustrations. The phrase, “When he hopped past the cat, he was too frightened to wonder anything” is so cute.
The following video shows how Kevin Henkes, the author of this book, created this book.
The following video reads the book in a clear voice while children are listening.