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Bunny Backstory

I haven’t celebrated Easter for many, many years, but The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes is every bit as awesome as Kelly Bare recollects it in The New Yorker:

Lyrical writing, glowing illustrations, fuel for the imagination, a sense of humor, and, of course, a message: plucky little girl bunnies who defy prejudice and believe in themselves can grow up to become fully actualized lady bunnies who raise smart, happy, kind children and do fulfilling work outside the warren….Little brown-skinned girl cottontail wants to be an Easter bunny (there are actually five, don’t you know), but is told by the “big white bunnies who lived in fine houses” and “Jack Rabbits with long legs” to “go back to the country and eat a carrot.” And “by and by she had a husband and then one day, much to her surprise there were twenty-one Cottontail babies to take care of.” Oops! But she doesn’t defer her dream for long. She raises twenty-one industrious, self-sufficient little bunnies who both keep her house and help her nail her Easter-bunny audition. She then goes on to become an Easter-bunny legend for her bravery — bolstered and refined, of course, by raising almost two dozen rabbits.

The Easter Bunny is really one of the thinnest bits of contemporary mythology we’ve got. Even with Santa Claus, there are multiple visions of who he is, what his motivations are, what his helpers look like. The Bunny’s just a deliveryman. It’s too bad this version of the story is basically a cult classic, rather than something that’s been absorbed widely into the culture. It’s great, and very sweet, two things that all too often are incompatible.

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