Wednesday, March 30, 2016

My New Favorite Book Is a Feminist Children's Story about the Easter Bunny

Lately I've been leaving the selection of picture books at the library completely in the hands of my 4-year-old.

While I'd like to tell you it's because I'm consciously trying to foster her sense of independence, it's mostly because I'm tired and I'd rather sit down while she picks out books.

Because she has little to no system for choosing books, we've read lots of inane stories, a couple of weird ones, and some that are so long and downright boring they have no place on a shelf of children's books.

But occasionally we come across a real gem, and it just so happens that a few weeks ago she brought home what's now become my new favorite picture book of all time.

It's called The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes, and it was written by Du Bose Heyward in 1939.

My New Favorite Book Is a Feminist Children's Story about the Easter Bunny -- Becoming a mom doesn't mean your dreams are automatically cast aside like so many dirty diapers, and this book proves it.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

At first glance, it sounds like it's going to be boring, weird, or both.

It's about a bunny who dreams of one day being chosen for a coveted Easter Bunny position, but then she has a ton of babies (rabbits, you know) and presumably her hopes for the future are tossed in the trash like so many dirty diapers.

By now you've probably guessed that I somewhat identify with the bunny. If you want to know what we both do all day, please see the below illustration:

My New Favorite Book Is a Feminist Children's Story about the Easter Bunny -- Becoming a mom doesn't mean your dreams are automatically cast aside like so many dirty diapers, and this book proves it.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
I've decided I must look like this to every third stranger I meet, which is why I hear "you've got your hands full" 12 times every time we leave the house.

As the baby bunnies get older, their mom (who is obviously brilliant) teaches them to do chores.

Can I just say that I love chores? 

The sight of a bunch of kids working together, not because they're getting paid or because they're playing some clean-up game but just because work is part of life and it's what you do without complaining, never fails to thrill me.

I'm a strict mom, and possibly a sadist.

My New Favorite Book Is a Feminist Children's Story about the Easter Bunny -- Becoming a mom doesn't mean your dreams are automatically cast aside like so many dirty diapers, and this book proves it.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
I admire this army of tiny workers.

Eventually they all go to the new Easter bunny choosing ceremony and mother bunny unexpectedly gets called up to the front with alllllll her children.

My New Favorite Book Is a Feminist Children's Story about the Easter Bunny -- Becoming a mom doesn't mean your dreams are automatically cast aside like so many dirty diapers, and this book proves it.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
This is how my family looks to people at the grocery store who are trying to get past us in the aisle.

Turns out she's the perfect candidate for the new Easter Bunny, because of the exact same skills she's honed as a mom: she's smart (since she taught the kids to work) and she's fast (since she has to chase after them all the time.)

So she gets to be the newest Easter Bunny, after all.

The reason I love The Country Bunny is that if she hadn't gone and 'ruined' her life by having all those babies (this was basically said to her by a rude stranger in the grocery store,) she never would've become an Easter Bunny at all.

Her greatest achievements came because she was a mother, not in spite of it.

Though I'm sure some people might see my college degree gathering dust while I chase after 5 runny-nosed children with tissues and think I've wasted my potential, I think I'm becoming the best possible version of myself and there's not a thing I'd change about the size or the timing of my family.

The country bunny goes on to have an Easter adventure that I won't spoil for you, but your kids will probably think it's way cool.

Oh, and the best part? She comes home at the end of it all to a quiet, tidy house where the kids had all done their chores and put themselves to bed.

(Which is probably why this book was put in the "juvenile fiction" section. Because mine would totally be playing their sixth straight hour of Minecraft and/or swinging from the rafters.)

Edited 3/31/16 to add: Wow, I had no idea how many people were going to be asking me how they could get this book! You can find it at Amazon.com by using my affiliate link for The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes. If you shop using this link, the cost is the same to you but I get a little commission for sending you over. Be a pal, eh?

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16 comments:

  1. That book sounds awesome in every way!

    This reminds me of the year my daughter was into princess books and the feminist librarian kept giving her princess-with-a-twist tomes where the princess saves the day, doesn't marry the prince, etc. I'm surprised we never got The Country Bunny passed on to us!

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    1. It is a little dated, but your librarian definitely should've been on it!

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  2. I read this one a few years ago, when we only had 2 of our 5 kids. Now I'm loving your parallels to a large family mother! Thanks for sharing!

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  3. I LOVE this book - it's the one "Easter" picture book I have saved and look forward to sharing with grandkids someday. It has "respect" written all over it, and as a bonus it is totally charming!

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    1. There is something about the pictures that is just so sweet, even aside from the story itself.

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  4. Nice! I will definitely check this out.I love to learn about reading material that isn't so "feminist" per se, but more realistic- Realistic like babies are awesome to have, career goals are awesome to have, and it can be possible to have both awesome things :)

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  5. Children who do chores without being asked? That's the stuff of fairy tales for sure. I love the message and am so glad for the recommendation. Thanks, Jenny! Keep the mamma love flowing.

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  6. This. Sounds. Awesome. Sounds like a really cool story. And moms teaching their kids to work because work is just a part of life--yep, I grew up with that, too. My mom writes parenting articles for this website about families in Malaysia and the one I just edited for her was all about how she taught us to know what work needs to be done and to be able to keep the house running without parents making chore lists or any of that complicated stuff. Definitely brought back memories! My mom, like the Easter Bunny here, is quite convinced that raising 7 kids has simply added to her natural awesomeness.

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  7. I looooove this. I need to buy it.

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    1. So many people said the same thing! I added my affiliate link to buy it on Amazon at the end of the post for you.

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  8. I loved this book as a child and am happy to see you found it.

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  9. What a cute book! My mom used to read all the books before me until I turned like 13 or something. Just to make sure there was no sex or stuff, I guess?

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    1. I was able to keep up on what my oldest daughter (now 11) was reading until she turned about 8, and then she got to be such a prolific bookworm that I had to give up. I haven't turned her loose in the YA section yet, so we stick to the children's area still.

      She wants to read the adult version of I Am Malala and I wanted to screen it first for anything that might be something I either wouldn't want her to read or something we'd need to talk about afterward, and I'm such a slow reader (not enough hours in the day) that she's getting really impatient with me.

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  10. Sounds great, and you have some really interesting view points about chores. I honestly never thought of it that way (I'm usually all for creative ideas to get kids to do stuff--- even though, to be clear, I don't have kids yet lol), but I think you make a great point about work being a part of life.

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  11. We had this book growing up. My brave, courageous, smart and hard working mother of nine would read it to us. We loved it! It was a bit long, so sometimes we had to read it over two nights of bedtime stories. It is one of the most memorable books from my childhood. Until I read this, I didn't think about the connection my Mom likely felt to the Mama bunny, though I do remember her stopping to talk about the chores! ;)

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