Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Easter preview/review: a feminist Easter bunny

I'm really excited about some ideas I have been working on for Easter-related posts, including (thanks to the generosity of a publisher) our first give away! If you don't want to miss it, be sure to subscribe to our feed using the link in the top right of the page. I can't help but post this review now, though. The Country Bunny isn't intended for a child of our bookworm's age, so I read this one more for myself (and any of you, of course, who might be buying books for children more in the 4-8 year-old range. I don't know how I haven't heard of this feminist children's story before now.

The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes (Hardcover), by Dubose Heyward. There is so much to say about this book! First, the plot. A "little country girl bunny with a brown skin..." aspires to be one of the five Easter Bunnies, who are "the five kindest, and swiftest, and wisest bunnies in the whole wide word." Her peers mock her, because 1) she's a girl, 2) she's from the country, and presumably, 3) she's brown. When she has 21 babies, it seems her fate is sealed: "'What did we tell you! Only a country rabbit would go and have all those babies. Now take care of them and leave Easter eggs to great big men bunnies like us.'" Cottontail, though, being as wise as she is, has other plans, and soon learns to put her children to work for her, training them to run the household. When a spot opens up for a new Easter Bunny, you can imagine who gets chosen. The really amazing thing about this story? The book was published in 1939, by an author born in the 19th century! The book delivers a lovely message about accomplishing your goals against all odds, with additional lessons about feminism and class woven in. What a lovely gift this would make for a young girl in particular, but I think boys or girls would enjoy it. I especially like when the mother bunny shows the skills she has developed while being a stay at home mom bunny (see the excerpt). Modern SAHM's will relate well to those passages.


"'...It is too bad that you have had no time to run and grow swift, as I might have made you my fifth Easter Bunny.' At that, Mother Cottontail started to laugh, then she whispered to the little bunnies, and every rabbit on the lawn looked to see what would happen and the old Grandfather leaned forward to watch. Suddenly all of her twenty-one children raced away. And Cottontail dashed after them, and in no time at all she had them all back again in front of the Palace."

Bookworm's interest at 15 months: This is much better suited for an older child (there is a good deal of text per page). I haven't tried it with him yet, other than a quick initial glance.

Keep reading for more Easter recommendations and give aways to come in the next few weeks.


barefootinhighheels said...

I'm obviously really late on this, and I don't know how I missed this post!! Perhaps I started subscribing after this was written. But this book looks fantastic!! I'm going to bookmark this and remember it for next year for my daughters. THANKS!


caribookscoops said...

Me too, how did I miss this one. I love books like this and I even did a feature for Woman's History month in March. I will definitely add this book to my list for next year.