Inspiration From The Distant Past

Inspiration From The Distant Past
Found note in an old book... warms the cockles of my bookish heart...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tuesday Treasures: The Country Bunny

Tuesday Treasures are the bookish distractions that catch my eye in the school library I work in on Tuesday. I'm not the librarian; I am the speech pathologist.

The library moved into my classroom due to flooding but I'm not complaining. This little old school library collection is chock full of wonderful treasures. Plus, I get to release my inner-librarian. The students who wander in looking for books assume I am the Tuesday Librarian. Can't blame them since my nose is always in a book.

This week, the display of Easter picture books caught my eye. Two were printed in the 60s and the rest were more contempory except for...
this 1938 edition of The Country Bunny And The Little Gold Shoes
by Du Bose Heyward. Are you familiar with this book? It is a classic picture book that I'd never heard of. It is the sweetest little story and surprisingly feminist for 1938.

If you immediately recognised the author Heyward, please excuse my ignorance. When I saw the 'As Told To Jenifer' on the cover, I thought a mother had written a story for her daughter illustrating that girls can achieve their dreams too.

Silly me! Heyward is a man! He wrote the novel Porgy; then the play of the same name; then the musical Porgy and Bess with the Gershwins. The Country Bunny is his only childrens book.
In this story there are always five Easter bunnies appointed by Grandfather Bunny. When an Easter Bunny gets too old to perform his duties, Grandfather chooses a replacement.
Here little Cottontail is mocked for aspiring to be an Easter bunny.

Much to her surprise, she grows up to have twenty-one babies! That would be a surprise, wouldn't it? Octomom has nothing on Mother Cottontail! Aren't the babies cute, though.
Here the male chauvinist bunnies have their say. Mean ol' men bunnies!

Here the little girl and boy Cottontails learn to be responsible bunnies.

Mother Cottontail encourages each child's talent.

The Cottontail family attends the choosing of a new Easter bunny. Grandfather Bunny does not think the big fast men bunnies are wise or kind so he interviews Mother Cottontail. He determines she must be wise because she teaches her children so well and she must be kind because all the little Cottontails are cheerful.

But what a shame that she isn't swift. Mrs. Cottontail whispers to her children who proceed to scatter every which way; she rounds them up lickety split. Grandfather is impressed and after being reassured that the little Cottontails can keep the cottage in order, he appoints Mother Cottontail one of the five Easter Bunnies. A dream come true!

Mother Cottontail does so well that Grandfather Bunny gives her the most important delivery of all. A very special egg to be delivered to a little boy who has been sick for a year without complaining. The house is on the top of a mountain. Near the top of the mountain, she slips and falls all the way to the bottom hurting her leg. Grandfather Bunny appears and gives her magic gold shoes that allow her to fly up the mountain in the nick of time before the boy awakens.
Exhausted, Mrs. Cottontail arrives home to a tidy cottage and sweetly sleeping little bunnies.

The little gold shoes hang in a place of honor!
What a lovely bedtime story for a father to tell his little girl. Heyward died when his daughter was ten. So sad but what a wonderful legacy.

Here is an interesting and informative webpage regarding Du Bose Heyward and how this book, The Country Bunny And The Little Gold Shoes, came to be written and published.

Remember you can click on the pictures to get a closer look at the text and the charming illustrations.


  1. I was introduced to this book about 15 years ago in my early 20s. I just gave it to a friend's daughter a few weeks ago! I had no idea he was also the author if Borgy and Bess, that is so cool!

  2. Hi Carin--- I thought that was an cool little tidbit too. Still so much to learn about the literary world.

    You beat me--- can't believe I didn't encounter this book until now. I'm going to be on the lookout for a copy for my little boy.

  3. I don't know why I am admitting this, but seeing your post made me want to confess a deep yearning for a girl baby. See, at night when I read to Jesse (my 3 year old boy, third son), we always go over a gazillion books. He recently got one with little bunnies, and one is a little girl with a sweet little nightgown. I actually whimpered when I saw it! SOO stinking adorable. And, yes, it's a bunny! Not a real baby, but still, something about it just GOT to me. Everytime we read it I get tears in my eyes because I just want that stinking little girl baby (or bunny!). Is that bizarro or what? I've always wanted boys, and got them. Now that I can't have more babies, now this!!
    Love the post and the retro pictures!

  4. Aww Amy, those feelings come out of the blue and whack all of us upside the head (and twist our heart). DeLynne and I have commiserated with a friend on facebook about baby yearnings so you aren't alone. Happens to the best of us.

    And isn't it the craziest things that trigger it-- guess that is why men think we are irrational.

    I absolutely know one child is the best for me but I still get a twinge of longing at times and wouldn't mind a 'happy accident'--- all against my better judgement.

    This wkend we'll be at my niece's 2nd bday party-- so I may start yearning again-- depends on how much of a toot she is... heehee

    So perfectly normal and not bizzaro. A bit of a shock the first time though but it goes away... and comes back... and goes away... don't know when it stays away... haven't got there yet.

    I feel honored that you shared this with us-- please feel free to share anytime. DeLynne and I definitely understand and I'm sure lots of the other gals do to.


  5. We Australians call this feeling 'clucky', and I still get it on occasion. My Mom says it's nature talking and I just have to fight it! Last time I got clucky I adopted two puppies. So much cheaper!

  6. I have never heard of this before, it is such a sweet story.Thanks for sharing Lesa!

  7. One of my very favorite stories as a child. I loved the courage of of the little girl bunny, the kindness of the Easter Bunnies, and felt so sorry for the sick little boy. The story would not have been the same though without the beautiful illustrations. A true gem.


Welcome to the yakkity yak box, Book Lovers! Your comments are greatly appreciated so please feel free to share your thoughts and ask questions.

Comments/questions will receive a response here and visits will be returned as time allows. We are a chatty bunch but also busy with work/school/family so apologies in advance for any delays.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...