Clement Hurd redrew some of his pictures for this new edition of the profoundly comforting story of a bunnys imaginary game of hide-and-seek and the lovingly steadfast mother who finds him every time.
The idea here is that the little bunny is a very young child, far too young to be on his own -- you know this when he actually tells his mother he is running away! Imagine your child of 4 to 7, momentarily angry about something, who tells you he wants to run away from home, pouting and saying things he doesn't mean, wanting attention, testing your love. (Heck, imagine your adolescent of 16 literally running away, though he wouldn't warn you beforehand!) He is far too young to be on his own, and his mother loves him so much that she will always be there for him when he needs her, and will not let harm come to him. He needs her now, though in his current emotional state he doesn't realize it. Would you let your child run away?
This book's audience is toddler through early-reader, the kind of age where their early needs for independence are joined with an intense need to feel the constant love and presence of the parent -- they need to know their parent(s) will always be there for them. Margaret Wise Brown was not talking about an older child figuratively spreading his or her wings, only to be smothered and squashed by Mother's "love." (The only overall metaphor here is that bunnies = humans.) She's literally talking about an immature child impulsively saying he will run away, and what any good, loving parent would say and do to help and comfort him. The book is from 1942, so perhaps that makes it unclear to some, but from the moment I read it I understood the context; it is a beautiful story if you understand the intent.Read more ›