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The Bedtime Bunny

Join in a celebration of rabbits in children's literature.

Article by Samantha Johnson; photos by Daniel Johnson

rabbit book articleIt’s bedtime. You’re 5 years old, and you’re curled up in bed, wearing cozy pajamas. Your teddy bear is tucked under your arm, and your parents are reading aloud from your favorite bedtime story.

Chances are, this favorite bedtime story involved a rabbit. Many adults have fond memories of their favorite books from childhood — and it can be surprising to realize how many of these classic books feature rabbits. From Brer Rabbit and Peter Rabbit to the Velveteen Rabbit and the Runaway Bunny, these timeless literary lagomorphs have achieved a permanent place in the world of children’s books.

According to the Publisher’s Weekly list of the 150 bestselling children’s hardcover books of all time (through the year 2000), rabbits feature quite prominently in many of the titles on this list: The Tale Of Peter Rabbit made the coveted #2 spot, Pat The Bunny is 6th, The Tale Of Benjamin Bunny is 23rd, Goodnight Moon is #32, I Am A Bunny is #62, Guess How Much I Love You? is #74, The Runaway Bunny is #104, and It’s Not Easy Being A Bunny is #144. On the paperback version of the same list, The Velveteen Rabbit was #130, and The Runaway Bunny crossed over to land in the 145th spot. Why is it that these books have found such lasting popularity? The answer is simple: Few creatures are more intrinsically comforting than a bunny. Rabbits are gentle, sweet, soft, quiet — everything that epitomizes childhood and bedtime stories — all wrapped up in a cute and cuddly package. So it’s really no surprise that bunnies are the primary characters in a high percentage of best-loved children’s books.

For the full article, pick up the 2011 issue of Rabbits USA or click here to buy the issue.

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