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The Runaway Bunny

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Overview

Clement Hurd redrew some of his pictures for this new edition of the profoundly comforting story of a bunny's imaginary game of hide-and-seek and the lovingly steadfast mother who finds him every time.

A little rabbit who wants to run away tells his mother how he will escape, but she is always right behind him; even if he changes into a fish, she will become a fisherman fishing with a carrot.

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Overview

Clement Hurd redrew some of his pictures for this new edition of the profoundly comforting story of a bunny's imaginary game of hide-and-seek and the lovingly steadfast mother who finds him every time.

A little rabbit who wants to run away tells his mother how he will escape, but she is always right behind him; even if he changes into a fish, she will become a fisherman fishing with a carrot.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Many children may wonder what it would be like to strike out on their own, but seldom imagine it as beautifully as the little bunny in this classic tale. The little bunny dreams of becoming a fish, a bird and even a "crocus in a hidden garden." With each new incarnation the bunny imagines, his mother promises to become a fisherman, a tree and a gardener so that she may still watch over, guide and protect her little bunny. Realizing that his mother's love is unwavering, the little bunny concedes defeat and decides he would be wise to stay home and just be himself. This picture book edition of the beautiful fable is perfect for even the smallest listener. Clement Hurd's black and white and colorful, dream-like illustrations grace spreads throughout the book, bringing to life perfectly the imagination of the young and the depth of love a parent has for a child. Children and the adults who love them will treasure this story. 2005 (orig. 1942), HarperFestival/HarperCollins, and Ages 6 mo. to 5.
—Bethany Miller Cole
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780064430180
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/28/1977
  • Series: Trophy Picture Bks.
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 18,913
  • Age range: Up to 2 years
  • Lexile: AD600L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.18 (d)

Meet the Author

Few writers have been as attuned to the concerns and emotions of childhood as Margaret Wise Brown (1910-1952). A graduate of Hollins College and the progressive Bank Street College of Education, she combined her literary aspirations with the study of child development. Her unique ability to see the world through a child's eyes is unequaled. Her many classic books continue to delight thousands of young listeners and readers year after year.

Muy pocos escritores de literatura infantil han logrado captar las emociones e inquietudes de la niñez como Margaret Wise Brown (1910-1952). Sus numerosos y ya clásicos libros y grabaciones continúan deleitando a lectores y oyentes de todas las edades.

Clement Hurd (1908–1988) is best known for illustrating Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny, the classic picture books by Margaret Wise Brown. He studied painting in Paris with Fernand Léger and others in the early 1930s. After his return to the United States in 1935, he began to work in children's books. He illustrated more than one hundred books, many of them with his wife, Edith Thacher Hurd, including the Johnny Lion books, The Day the Sun Danced, and The Merry Chase. A native of New York City, he lived most of his life in Vermont and California.

Clement Hurd (1908–1988) se graduó de Yale University. Estudió pintura en París en los años 1930 con Fernand Léger, entre otros. Allí fue donde desarrolló su estilo característico, compuesto de colores de fuerte contraste. Hurd estuvo casado con la escritora Edith Thacher Hurd, con quien también creó muchos libros que se convirtieron en favoritos de los niños.

Biography

When Margaret Wise Brown began to write for young children, most picture books were written by illustrators, whose training and talents lay mainly in the visual arts. Brown, the author of Goodnight Moon, was the first picture-book author to achieve recognition as a writer, and the first, according to historian Barbara Bader, "to make the writing of picture books an art."

After graduating college in 1932, Brown's first ambition was to write literature for adults; but when she entered a program for student teachers in New York, she was thrilled by the experience of working with young children, and inspired by the program's progressive leader, the education reformer Lucy Sprague Mitchell. Mitchell held that stories for very young children should be grounded in "the here and now" rather than nonsense or fantasy. For children aged two to five, she thought, real experience was magical enough without embellishments.

Few children's authors had attempted to write specifically for so young an audience, but Brown quickly proved herself gifted at the task. She was appointed editor of a new publishing firm devoted to children's books, where she cultivated promising new writers and illustrators, helped develop innovations like the board book, and became, as her biographer Leonard S. Marcus notes, "one of the central figures of a period now considered the golden age of the American picture book."

Though Brown was intensely interested in modernist writers like Gertrude Stein (whom she persuaded to write a children's book, The World Is Round), it was a medieval ballad that provided the inspiration for The Runaway Bunny (1942), illustrated by Clement Hurd. The Runaway Bunny was Brown's first departure from the here-and-now style of writing, and became one of her most popular books.

Goodnight Moon, another collaboration with Hurd, appeared in 1947. The story of a little rabbit's bedtime ritual, its rhythmic litany of familiar objects placed it somewhere between the nursery rhyme and the here-and-now story. At first it was only moderately successful, but its popularity gradually climbed, and by 2000, it was among the top 40 best-selling children's books of all time.

The postwar baby boom helped propel sales of Brown's many picture books, including Two Little Trains (1949) and The Important Book (1949). After the author died in 1952, at the age of 42, many of her unpublished manuscripts were illustrated and made into books, but Brown remains best known for Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny.

More people recognize those titles than recognize the name of their author, but Margaret Wise Brown wouldn't have minded. "It didn't seem important that anyone wrote them," she once said of the books she read as a child. "And it still doesn't seem important. I wish I didn't have ever to sign my long name on the cover of a book and I wish I could write a story that would seem absolutely true to the child who hears it and to myself." For millions of children who have settled down to hear her stories, she did just that.

Good To Know

When Goodnight Moon first appeared, the New York Public Library declined to buy it (an internal reviewer dismissed it as too sentimental). The book sold fairly well until 1953, when sales began to climb, perhaps because of word-of-mouth recommendations by parents. More than 4 million copies have now been sold. The New York Public Library finally placed its first order for the book in 1973.

If you look closely at the bookshelves illustrated in Goodnight Moon, you'll see that one of the little rabbit's books is The Runaway Bunny. One of three framed pictures on the walls shows a scene from the same book.

Brown's death was a stunning and sad surprise. The author had had an emergency appendectomy in France while on a book tour, which was successful; but when she did a can-can kick days later to demonstrate her good health to her doctor, it caused a fatal embolism.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Golden MacDonald, Juniper Sage, Timothy Hay
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 23, 1910
    2. Place of Birth:
      Brooklyn, N.Y.
    1. Date of Death:
      November 13, 1952
    2. Place of Death:
      Nice, France

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 42 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(35)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

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1 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 42 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    TIMELESS AND CLASSIC!

    My mom read this to me when I was a child and now that I am 7 1/2 months pregnant with my first child, it takes on a whole new meaning. This book is wonderful and I think it defines what being a good mother is. I would highly recommend it to any mother with children of all ages.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2014

    Stupid. When I read this book to my kids, they got bored and so

    Stupid. When I read this book to my kids, they got bored and so did I. The little bunny tells his mother he wants to escape for no reason at all. The mother says she will change into whatever she needs to change into in order to keep stalking him. That's it. There's nothing more to it. . . . Yawn.

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  • Posted July 28, 2013

    This is one of those books that I can't believe I haven't writte

    This is one of those books that I can't believe I haven't written about sooner.  I started reading this book to my son early in his first year.  He is well into his fifth year and I still read it to him, when I can find it.  It's that finding it thing that might explain the delay in the review.  This is one of those books that he likes to read himself.  At night.  When he is supposed to be sleeping.  I found it under his bed tonight when I was chasing the cat out of his room.
    I think it is best to have a healthy sense of humor when reading Runaway Bunny; otherwise, it might seem a bit strange or creepy.  The premise is that the young rabbit has decided that he wants to run away from home, so he decides to turn into another creature or object, like a crocus, to hide or run away.  His mother then says she will turn into another creature or object, like a gardener, to find him.  After of few of these proposed transitions, the young rabbit decides to stay home.  And his mother gives him a carrot.  Early on, my son laughed at the exaggeration of the story.  That, as I've said, is the best way to enjoy the book.
    Clarence Hurd's illustrations also help set the stage for levity and not gravity.  They also are extreme in their exaggeration and imbibed with subtle humor.  The sailboat and cloud is particularly wonderfully silly. His illustrations are, in short, perfect.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2011

    a real classic

    a timeless message of reassurance for a young child

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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    A MUST for kids

    My daughter is 3years old she loves this book. I highly recommend the "lap Edition" after reading each page the next one has all the things you can point out to, she takes her time to find every little thing I just read.

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  • Posted November 11, 2009

    My automatic new-baby book

    I have loved this book since I was little, finding it even more of a classic than the classic Goodnight Moon. I think its message is timeless (no matter what the little bunny does, mommy will find him and come to him and take care of him); the illustrations are beautiful, and the rhythm of the text itself is soothing. Every friend of mine that has a baby gets a copy of this book from me; it's become my "signature baby gift"!

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  • Posted August 29, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Classic story with unique and beautiful illustration

    This book is a favorite for my daughter with autism. She enjoys the black and white illustrations mixed with color illustrations. The board book version is sturdy. I recommend it for both typical and special needs children who enjoy books.

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  • Posted June 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Simply Wonderful!

    I read this ages ago and recently gave it as a gift to a friend. Her daughter was having some anxiety issues when being dropped off to her classroom. They read this daily and it has become her favorite story. It has also reassured her that her mom will never leave her. It's a beautiful story and a must have for anyone's collection.

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  • Posted June 6, 2009

    Mother's Love Always Unconditional

    When I used to read Runaway Bunny to my son (now 21), I still remember the look of absolute awe in his face that a mommy could love her child with her whole heart no matter what the child did. After we would read it, he would come up with all kinds of imaginative scenarios to test it, and I would reply the same way the mother in the Runaway Bunny did -- you are my child, and I will always love you. Over the years he has had many real life opportunities to test it, and the answer has always remained the same (sometimes with difficulty during the teenage years!). I recommend this lovely story for all new moms -- and dads.

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  • Posted May 30, 2009

    Baby Classic

    This is my traditional baby shower gift! It was given to me when my daughter was born 20 yeats ago and has been a favorite ever since. My daughter loved to read it with me and now my grandchildren are doing the same. A great "Mommy" book!

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  • Posted May 16, 2009

    Touching Story of a Mother's Love

    Runaway Bunny is wonderful for kids in that it reveals how deep a mother's love is/can be and how far she is willing to go for the good of her child. It has good illustrations. They are simple but demonstrative. The story line is easy to follow and engaging. It has one of the most important lessons for kids to learn -- the nature of maternal love. The interactivity comes from the fact that the story is moving and the analogy to life is clear, so my daughter was consistently interactive because of its impact. Great for reading aloud. It is a comforting story, so it is good for bedtime and other times of unease. Wonderful book for small children.

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  • Posted April 20, 2009

    Runaway Bunny, a special book.

    This is one my favorite children's book. I still have my son's book given to him twenty eight years ago and just recently bought a new one for a first time mother. I was amazed when I read just this year that the author did not have children which makes this story all the more special. She truly captures the essence of a mother's love.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2008

    Wholesome

    This is the type of book that teaches a child how very much their mother (parents) love them and to what extents they will go to protect them. More books like this are needed for children.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2008

    MY FAVORITE BOOK FOR MY KIDS

    LOVE LOVE this book. It is my all time favorite book to read to my kids as they were growing up. It is a great gift to anyone having a baby. Such a clever story. A must read for any mom to their kids!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2008

    Bunny Runs Away with Excellence

    This beautifully illustrated book allows any child to identify with the main character, easily making this story a keepsake and one of those 'never forget' stories. A mother's unconditional love, and a child's need for independence and safety brings this story to an outstanding level.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2007

    Fantastically Ageless

    i love, love ,love this book. the pictures are great and so expressive. my sister read it to me when i was young, i read it to my son and now he reads it to his little sister and he's only 5.he follows the pictures when he lost on the words ,and has not missed a beat yet.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2007

    A reviewer

    This book brings back such great childhood memories for me. I loved the pictures and the story then and I love the pictures and story now. I recommend this book for every child's library. What a great display of unconditional love.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2007

    Building kids' imaginations

    My son and I go on day trips all the time like bike rides, to parks, to rivers, streams and ponds, in the woods, etc. This is one of the books that taught him that 'There's a whole big world out there!' It also taught him that above all, your mom and dad love you most.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2007

    It is a fiction book

    I love this book because it has really detailed pictures and color. The words are good and kind of funny.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2007

    It's Ageless!

    My 49-year old daughter GAVE THIS BOOK TO ME several years ago! She and her family live in Maine...her Dad and I are in New Mexico. I read this book every few months, and get teary-eyed each time. Just thinking about it now has me 'on the verge.' Love It!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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