I posted earlier what books I was going to read this upcoming year were going to be for Emlyn Chand's "The Books that Made Me Love Reading" Challenge.
I'm trying to do them in order that I read them. I'm trying to do most "childhood" to most "adult." But we'll see how that works, heh.
My January read was The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown. When I was younger, having been born the year of the rabbit and my parents calling me a "bunny" all the time, I thought this book was amazing. My pre-school and kindergarten mind was blown away. "Cute bunnies? Really?! BUNNIES!?" Yes, yes, yes, please! I love cute things!
And now, older and maybe just a little bit wiser, I find reading this strangely amusing. Yes, I am still obsessed with cute things (example: I still own stuffed animals, and I'm still very proud of my small, but elite collection of awesome). However, the plot of the story took on a different meaning. When I was younger, I took it more as a comfort - that your mother would always be there for you no matter what. Now, I find it a little creepy. The mother refuses to let the bunny explore his own emotions. Instead of letting the bunny become a trapeze artist or other exciting and new things, the bunny is trapped to always be with his mother.
And the last line, where the bunny decides it is useless to try and run away. The mother offers him solace in a carrot. Food apparently solves everything. You're unhappy with your home life? Eat a carrot - it'll fix everything.
It's kind of a silly story, but I still think it's cute, despite my now cynical viewpoint. There is a sense that the mother will stand by the bunny, no matter who the bunny grows up to be. But if the bunny really wants to get away from his mother, then he should be allowed to leave and explore his life.
Overall, I still love my childhood books. I just think I find them funny, silly, and a little strange now - but the artwork remains gorgeous, and the family message is still there. I will always have a soft spot for The Runaway Bunny no matter how cynical I become. :)
Next Month: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle