The Runaway Bunny
|Author||Margaret Wise Brown|
The Runaway Bunny is a 1942 picture book written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd. The plot deals with a small rabbit, who wants to run away. His mother, however, tells him that "if you run away, I will run after you."
This book is the first in Brown and Hurd's "classic series," which also includes Goodnight Moon and My World. The picture of a cow jumping over the moon, which features prominently in Goodnight Moon, first appeared in The Runaway Bunny. A copy of The Runaway Bunny appears in Goodnight Moon, as does the illustration of the mother fishing for the bunny child. The three books have been published together as a collection titled Over the Moon.
A little bunny tells his mother that he is going to run away, becoming variously a fish, a rock on the mountain, a crocus in a hidden garden, a bird, a sailboat, a circus acrobat, and finally a little boy, until he resigns himself to stay where he is and remain her little bunny.
Brown claimed that her inspiration for The Runaway Bunny came from "Chanson de Magali," a love song based on French Provençal folklore. The call and response structure of Brown's text provides an emotionally compelling depiction of a small child's first burst of independence and a mother's affirmation of unconditional love.
The closing line of the book, "'Have a carrot,' said the mother bunny," was added after Ursula Nordstrom, the director of Harper's Department of Books for Boys and Girls, told Brown that the ending needed work. The line was cabled in to Harper's from Maine, where Brown was on vacation. There have been two different final illustrations for this book.
The book has been in print continuously since 1942.
In popular culture
Movie and TV writer Zack Stentz had taken inspiration from "The Runaway Bunny" when writing the 21st episode of the second season of TV series The Flash - titled "The Runaway Dinosaur".
The Runaway Bunny was referenced in season 11, episode 12 of the television show 'Cheers.' Carla states that she's read the book to her 8 kids over a thousand times and it 'made her bawl each time.'
- Brown, Margaret Wise and Clement Hurd. Over the Moon: A Collection of First Books (HarperCollins, 2006).
- Clack, George. "The Strange, Wonderful Life of Margaret Wise Brown". 3:17am. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
- Cesaretti, Ms. "Module 1: The Runaway Bunny". Read Beneath the Covers. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
- Nordstrom, Ursula. Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom ed. Leonard S. Marcus. New York: HarperCollins, 1998., p. 5, footnote.
- Pearson, Claudia. Have a Carrot: Oedipal Theory and Symbolism in Margaret Wise Brown's Runaway Bunny Trilogy Birmingham, AL: Look Again Press 2010. ISBN 978-1-4524-5500-6 https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/21324
- Marcus, Leonard. Margaret Wise Brown, Awakened by the Moon Boston: Beacon Press. 1992.
- Nordstrom, Ursula. Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom ed. Leonard S. Marcus. New York: HarperCollins, 1998.