18 March 2008

Easter week: act two

I suppose I can’t blame this all on Martha. Who can help but get carried away with all the little plants poking their heads out to test the air, and the air starting to smell like warm weather. (Do you smell the change of season sometimes?)

Anyway, Day two is Bunny book day.

I picked this one up at a church book fair that I catch every year. Last year I told Paul I’d be right back, and came home fifty dollars poorer but a heaping bag of vintage children’s books wealthier. And this was one of the top finds:

It’s a wonderful story of a large prestigious family of rabbits called Esterhazy that is having a problem with each generation getting smaller. The patriarch has the inspired idea to send each of his grandchildren out into a different country to find large mates to bring up the size of the next family members. “…all Esterhazys were very, very tiny but very, very intelligent.”
The story follows the youngest grandson in his travels to Berlin, his troubles on his way, and eventually his witnessing the destruction of the Berlin wall. He has adventures of sorts with a dreadful little girl as an owner, living out of a bakery delivery truck, and being a department store Easter Rabbit. Most importantly, it’s written in the elusive way that parents don’t hate it after the fifth or sixth time that they have to read it in a week. One of my favourite lines is “…so I am being forced against my will to live off sweets.” It actually has nothing to do with a giant rabbit bringing an ungodly amount of candy to children, or even God at all. It’s a pleasant story about a rabbit in a city far from his home without being cheesy. Here’s the specs:

Esterhazy, The Rabbit Prince
Irene Dische and Hans Magnus Enzenberger
Wonderfully Illustrated by Michael Sowa
Published by Image Connection 2000
Orignally published in German 1993
ISBN 0-9702768-3-4

It’s out of print, but available used from Amazon, and for some astronomical prices at alibris. You can get a good long preview of it at Google Books here. If you ever happen to come across it in your travels, pick it up. It’s fun and sweet and the illustrations are adorable.

Other bunny books to love:
The ever popular Guess How Much I Love You. I know every thrift store, consignment shop and yard sale has at least two of these but I still adore it. The little rabbit reaching up and pulling down Daddy Rabbit’s ears just gets me right there, you know? It’s a kind of nice book for daddy, too. I know I love both my bunnies all the way to the moon and back.
The Velveteen Rabbit. I loved this as a child and vaguely remember maybe seeing a film version of it once. Maybe. You can also get an abbreviated board book version for little ones with shorter attention spans. Again, check yard sales.
Of course, Peter Rabbit. I went to look for a proper link to put here besides Amazon, and I was amazed to find just how many versions of the story you can get here. Harry has yet to appreciate these, but really, how can I mention bunny tales without Peter. I’m more of a Mrs Tiggy-Winkle girl myself, (one more) and was delighted to find there’s an animal hospital named for her that is dedicated to the care of injured hedgehogs. Now how sweet is that?

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