Little Bunny Foo Foo
"Little Bunny Foo Foo" is a children's poem about a bunny rabbit harassing a population of field mice by scooping them up and bopping them on their heads. The rabbit is scolded and threatened by a fairy known as the "Good Fairy", who punishes the disobedient rabbit by transforming it into a "goon" or "goonie". The poem consists of four-line sung verses separated by some spoken words. The verses are sung to the tune of the French-Canadian children's song "Alouette" (1879), which is melodically similar to "Down by the Station" (1948) and the "Itsy Bitsy Spider". The person performing the song usually includes hand gestures, e.g. for "scooping" and "bopping".
The song has many different variations and is often passed on as childlore. Beverly Cleary's 1970 children's book Runaway Ralph mentions "Little Rabbit Fru-Fru" as a song heard at summer camp, and a 1970 issue of The New Yorker acknowledges "Little Bunny Phoo Phoo, a character in a children's story."
One of the more popular versions of the song is:
Little Bunny Foo Foo,
Hopping through the forest,
Scooping up the field mice,
And bopping them on the head.
Down came the Good Fairy, and she said,
"Little Bunny Foo Foo,
I don't want to see you,
Scooping up the field mice
And bopping them on the head."
"I'll give you three chances,
And if you don't behave,
I'm gonna turn you into a goon!"
The next day... or That evening... or Later that night...
The verses then repeat three more times, with the spoken verse altered to reflect Little Bunny Foo Foo's decreasing number of chances. The alteration appears in the first line of the verse, which changes to "I'll give you two more chances" and "I'll give you one more chance", in the second and third iterations, respectively.
In the fourth and final iteration, when the bunny has run out of chances, the entire spoken verse is altered as follows:
"I gave you three chances,
And you didn't behave,
And now I'm gonna turn you into a goon. POOF!"
Sometimes "bopping" is replaced with "kissing".
One common ending has Little Bunny Foo Foo turned into a goon, with a pun ending "And the moral of the story is: Hare today, goon tomorrow." This form of story telling with a pun ending is also known as a feghoot.
In popular culture
In Brazil the song was translated into Portuguese by the Brazilian singer Xuxa for the album Xuxa Só Para Baixinhos 3 ("Xuxa Only for Little Ones"), with the name "Coelhinho Fufu". In it, instead of bopping the field mice on the head, he sharply kisses them and (though not said in the song lyrics) drops them, and the Good Fairy (known literally as the Fairy Godmother) gives him a long lecture, and the penalty for using up his three chances by disobeying is being turned into a duckling.
In Cori Doerrfeld's children's book Little Bunny Foo Foo: The Real Story, a female Little Bunny Foo Foo is portrayed making small cakes. However, rats would constantly come and steal her desserts. This irritates her so much that she chases and pounds the rats in their heads. The fairy, who is unaware of the rats' thievery, however, blames Little Bunny Foo Foo for the pounding, and tells her to stop. The bunny tries to be peaceful but the way the rats still try to steal her delicacies make her want to go physical on them. After three warnings ignored, the fairy transforms Little Bunny Foo Foo into a giant vicious gerbil. The giant gerbil gets revenge by chasing and finally devouring the fairy. The gerbil returns home to enjoy her cakes. The attendees at her party don't seem to mind her appearance.
Lenore, the Cute Little Dead Girl where Lenore plays as Little Bunny Foo Foo and gets told to stop bopping field mice on the head by the Good Fairy. She continues bopping other animals instead, and so the Good Fairy reappears and reprimands her by saying: "No bopping ANY animals on the head!" Lenore responds by bopping the fairy. The moral of the story was: "Be more specific".
The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic chapter book Fluttershy and the Fine Furry Friends Fair references the poem with a mentioned circus rabbit whose routine involves field mice.
The poem also provides part of the plot for The 7D episode "Hop to It Dopey!" in which Dopey attempts to halt Foo Foo's attacks on the field mice.
In one children's book, illustrated by Paul Brett Johnson, the bunny picks up muddy pies and splats rats on his wagon. The Good Fairy doesn't like it when it's not polite to go around bopping folks, but the bunny gets a motorcycle and has a lasso in his hand to tie up gophers, and the second time he gets a big tractor to pick up foxes, and the third time he gets a big crawler crane to take down grizzly bears.
In Disney's Silly Songs album, the bunny appears on a pogo-stick and carrying a net while bouncing through a large meadow.
Illustrated children's books:
- Little Rabbit Foo Foo by Michael Rosen illustrated by Harold Robins, Walker Books Ltd, 1990, ISBN 978-0-7445-9800-1
- Little Bunny Foo Foo: Told and Sung by the Good Fairy by Paul Brett Johnson, Scholastic Press, 2004, ISBN 978-0-439-37301-2
Music on CD and cassette:
- "Little Bunny Foo Foo" on Disney's Silly Songs
- Whitman, Neal (February 21, 2014). "The Hoax Behind Little Bunny Foo Foo". The Babbler's Lexicon. Retrieved June 30, 2019.
In any case, the earliest attestations I've been able to find are two from 1970. One is in Beverly Cleary's novel Runaway Ralph. The talking mouse Ralph finds himself at a summer camp, and is frightened to hear a boy singing 'Little Rabbit Fru-fru'. The other is from an article in the January 17 issue of The New Yorker, which mentions 'little Bunny Phoo Phoo' (spelled P-H-O-O) as a character in a children's story.
- "Little Bunny Foo Foo – Kids Songs & Nursery Rhymes". MakingMusicFun.net.
- Inside the classroom (and out), Kenneth L. Untiedt, p. 36,
- "Little Bunny Foo Foo".
- ""Little Bunny Foo Foo" Song Lyrics". Grandparents.com. 2008-10-02. Retrieved 11 April 2017.
- "Little Bunny Foo Foo". KIDiddles. Retrieved 11 April 2017.
- Hannah Heller. "Sing Along Little Bunny Foo Foo". Speakaboos. Retrieved 11 April 2017.
- amandajlepper (April 14, 2014). "Books for the Easter Basket". Going on a Book Hunt. Retrieved 2016-03-03.
- At a Quiet Lakeside しずかな湖畔の Thejapanesepage.com
- Works related to Little Bunny Foo Foo at Wikisource