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".
The book has been in print continuously since 1942.
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.
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.
References in popular culture
- In the movie Jack the Bear the boys' parents read the book to them.
- In episode 259 of Cheers (season 11), Sam and Woody read the book to Frasier's son, Frederick.
- A violin concerto of the same name based on the book was released in 2006 by Sony/BMG, featuring the narration performed by Brooke Shields. The concerto was premiered at Carnegie Hall with Glen Roven, the composer, conducting the American Symphony Orchestra with Glenn Close narrating.
- Talk show host David Letterman has mentioned this is one of his favorite books to read to his son Harry.
- In the play Rabbit Hole by David Lindsay-Abaire, the book is mentioned as one that the mother, Becca, had passed down to her son Danny before his death.
- In the play Wit by Margaret Edson, the book helps demonstrate the protagonist's ability for redemption. Her former college professor reads it to her during her final hours dying of ovarian cancer. She notes that the story can be read as an allegory of the soul being pursued by God. The scene is also there in the 2001 film adaptation of the play by the same name, featuring Emma Thompson.
- Musician Joanna Newsom references the story in the song "Baby Birch" off of her 2010 album Have One On Me.
- In the book The Gardener, a few lines from The Runaway Bunny are mentioned several times throughout the story.
- In the picture book Goodnight Moon (also by Brown and illustrated by Hurd), in one of the pictures, The Runaway Bunny is a book on the bunny's bookshelf as he says goodnight to everything.
- In various episodes of the television show Mystery Science Theater 3000.
- The story is also used in the crossover sequel film, Mary and Perry 2: the Adventures of the Fox Family in the Cartoon World. In the scene, Sandy Cheeks reads this to Terry, while sitting on a rock.
- 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.