The Country Bunny

This my friends, is one of my most treasured books. The pages are very lovingly worn and well read. It was placed in my Easter Basket many, many moons ago by the Easter Bunny and is one of my favorite books! Not only for the story itself but for the beautiful images.

Du Bose Heyward wrote it for his daughter, Jennifer. This was a fact that I did not know until I was older and since it said on the cover “as told to Jennifer”, I thought for the longest time it had been written just for me!

If you have never had the great fortune of reading this book. It is about a country bunny who has always wanted to be an Easter Bunny. She is a very organized and wonderful mother, each of her children have a responsibility in their home, so everyone works together. After learning that there is a search for a new Easter Bunny she sets out with her children to compete for a place alongside the other bunnies.  She earns her place through hard work, resourcefulness, intelligence but most importantly her kindness.

One day a little country girl bunny with a brown skin
and a little cotton-ball of a tail said, “Some day I shall
grow up to be the Easter Bunny: you wait and see!”
Then all of the big white bunnies who lived in fine houses,
and the Jack Rabbits with long legs who can run fast,
laughed at the little Cottontail and told her to go
back to the country and eat a carrot.
But she said, “Wait and see!”

 

On Easter Eve after delivering so many baskets of eggs to all the little boys and girls she is given the great task by Grandfather Bunny to make one more delivery to bring one very special egg to a very sick child.  She succeeds in the end with the help of Grandfather Bunny’s wisdom and the magical golden shoes.

While in college I had the great opportunity to intern at the Gibbes Museum of Art which holds the original images to this book. Every Easter the prints are carefully taken out of storage and put into a side gallery that doubles as a classroom. I had the privilege of teaching kindergarteners and 1st & 2nd graders the principles of printing and color mixing using these images. As with many older printings the color was created by a layering effect.

I would pick up my little munchkins in the main entry way, they were always adorable, a little fidgety standing there in a small huddled group. The girls usually all dressed up by the Mama’s with a big bow in their hair, because they were on a school field trip, the boys in little khaki shorts with polo shirts and normally untied shoes.  It was my class to teach, so I ran it how I saw fit. I would take them into the dollhouse miniatures gallery first and watch their little faces as they climbed up onto the plinths especially built for little people and with noses pressed against the glass they would stare into the cases of miniature rooms and houses, all built as elfin sized replicas of historic homes.

Next, we would cross the hall and go into the Japanese Print Room, where I would begin to talk about carving a design and how you layered colors, using a different carved block for each new color.  From there we marched on to the “Bunny Room” and there faces were always magical to see as they stared at the prints on the wall of a book many of them had read or been read to numerous times in their young lives.

We would talk about the process layering  and mixing color and we would read the book; have an Easter Egg hunt (the eggs held inside a “puzzle” piece of the images on the wall they had to match) and do a little coloring exercise too.  The days I got to teach them were always a day I looked forward too, because without fail, if nothing else I said or showed them grabbed their attention, that room always did because of Majorie Flack’s sweet images and the beautiful words written by Du Bose Heyward.

I wish I had the Country Bunny’s golden shoes on today, because with a few good leaps I could skip across this ocean between me and my family and be their Easter Bunny hopping in through the door and visiting with them for this most special of Holidays.