Home » Children and Young Adult Novel Reviews » The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown

The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown

Hi everyone, well, due to regulations beyond our control, we will not be celebrating Easter on April or May this year. Because its ending up sharing a month with St. Patrick’s Day.

"Hey! We're Roommates! But why are we speaking english on a spanish calender?"

“Hey! We’re Roommates! But why are we speaking english on a spanish calender?”

Which is why I thought it would be appropriate to write a review of an children’s book about a bunny-while wearing something green.

This may or may not be a dramatization of something green I am wearing.

This may or may not be a dramatization of something green I am wearing.

Okay, now that I have gotten those two things out of the way, we will look at a children’s picture book “The Runaway Bunny” by Margaret Wise Brown.

Who you would also know from another famous book of hers called “Goodnight Moon”

It’s a simple heart-warming tale, with a deep and emotional message about a mother’s love for her children. Which, is a series of back and forth good-humor bickering, that make up the entirety of the book between the baby bunny and its mother.

Still a better book about mother-child relations than "I Will Love You Forever" and not without the ladder and truck driving late at night.

Still a better book about mother-child relations than “I Will Love You Forever” and not without the ladder and truck driving late at night.

The Story

The story characters are only two: A baby bunny who wants to run away (seemingly for no discerning reason) and it’s mother who thwarts its attempts with passive, hypothetically, imaginative ways as we come to find out as we read along.

“I am going to run away” Says the little bunny
“If you run away,” says his mother,”I will run after you, for you are my little bunny.”

-The Runaway Bunny

And then story continues down in a “What If” scenario, which entices and enchants the reader as it goes. The bunny starts by stating that he will be a fish, and then we see the next page with the mother bunny wearing fishing gear and stating that she will fish for the little bunny, using carrot as bait, of course.

Here fishy fishy fishy

Here fishy fishy fishy

The bunny next says that if the fishing thing didn’t work, he will turn into a rock on the highest mountain, for there is no way that little sure-footed bunnies can climb to the very top of mountains. Ha ha!

But nope, his mommy will become a bunny-mountaineer and climb that mountain, after swimming every stream to still be his mommy. The bunny doesn’t give up as each little situation gets more and more outlandish; the bunny’s mother finds way to counter-act her son.

Turning into the wind-

Do not cross Typhoon Bunny!

Into a tree to catch the flying baby bunny-

“Look out for that rabbit-shaped tree!” D:

And last but not least-


When the baby bunny says that he will run away to join the circus, like what kid hasn’t said they will do that?

Then we come to the finale of the book-

“I will become a little boy and run into a house” Says the Little Bunny.
“If you become a little boy and run into a house, than I will become your mother and catch you in your arms and hug you.”

“Does this old-fashioned 1920s house-dress make my butt look big?”

“Shucks,” said the bunny,”I might as well just stay where I am and be your little bunny.”
And so he did.
“Have a carrot.” said the mother bunny.

Yay! Crisis averted!

Carrots for Everyone!

The Review and Afterthoughts

There is nothing much to say really that hasn’t already been said about this book. Continuing in the traditions of classic stories like “Goodnight Moon” “The Color Kittens” “Scuppers The Sailor Dog” “When The Wind Blew” and many others. Seeing the beautiful combination of black and white artistry and fully colored illustrations, it’s no surprised that this book of a mother’s love for her child in rabbit form has been a popular bedtime story for generations next to its cousin “Goodnight Moon”. Spawning countless affectionate parodies, homages, references, and still remains to be a popular best seller even to this day. Books that focus on storylines where the mother notes how much and most importantly how far her love for her child goes are popular stories because of the familiar wholesome connection and safe environment it gives off. Giving children reading it an excellent reminder and reaffirmation of being loved by the women who birthed them, but no in a way that insults their intelligence or comes completely out of left thing in a patronizing way.

So why does a book like “The Runaway Bunny” spared from the most intellectual cynicism while a book like “I Will Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch will be joked about and humored behind closed doors as being “creepy and dark” in disguised as a children’s book?

Well, based off my own experience reading the book itself, there may be some debatable discrepancy as to the actions of the mothers in both books.

In The Runaway Bunny, it is established that the mother in her sweet nature, is humoring the child and that most of her attempts as appearing as silly as possible, were meant to be imaginative on purpose. She appears, in modern terms, to be humoring the child along and saying “Oh yeah and then what?” gently challenging her child, but at the same time, it comes off that she is not upset but gently ribbing the child into giving up on his own and deciding that mom is a pretty okay person after all.

In I Will Love You Forever, we have our mother in this book who is still a kind, gentle, nurturing woman to her son. She sings to him and reminds him since he was first held in her arms, that no matter what, she will be his baby and she will love him. Okay, that is not bad, after all it is important in early days of infancy for that mother and child to have a close bonding with each other, and the mother shows it by singing a special song to her son and rocking him. You can’t argue its a sweet and touching scene that will make you tear up and she always repeats this mantra to her son….at night. Every night while he is asleep. However, when you continue reading “I Love You Forever” and compared it to “The Runaway Bunny” book, you kinda note how very different these two are. And it seems as if the Mother Rabbit is more grounded to reality than the human mother. Who, even when the child is a grown adult and living on his own, will she still drive out in the middle of the night carrying a ladder and will still crawl into his bedroom at night and rock him to sleep.

Without considering the fact that maybe he already has someone sharing the bed with him. Like a wife perhaps?

“Quick little kitten! Go get help! GO GET HELP!”

Just imagine how awkward in real life that would be?

The book sounds and looks all well and find, don’t get me wrong, but when it gets up to the point where the mother is basically using a ladder to climb into the grown son’s bedroom at night to cradle him to sleep….

That was where suspension of disbelief decided to go take a cruise.

Here, with “The Runaway Bunny” there is no passage of time to show us that the mother bunny would always love her baby. We are shown not told that she would through examples in terms an imaginative child would understand and appreciate. In the here and now, their relationship will proceed to be stronger and healthier than it was before. Even when we (the reader) never can figure out why the baby bunny just decided he wanted to run away that day in the beginning of the story (maybe he was upset, wanted attention, didn’t feel loved by his mom for some reason, had an adventurous streak in him) we still know that the bond between them is for real.

There is honestly no reason why any kind would not enjoy this book, I would recommend this book for children ages 5-7 since it seems to fit in the simplicity of their reading comprehension level and find eye candy in the colorful artwork and message of the story. Particularly, given the characters a book for both Easter reading and a bedtime story.

Oh and don’t worry, we will go more in-depth into the book “I Will Love You Forever” later on.


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