Cottontail, mother of twenty-one little boy and girl bunnies, holds life-long dreams of becoming an Easter Bunny.
Why, you may ask, a children’s book written in 1939 by a proper Charlestonian named DuBose Hayward, matter to us, jaded denizens of the 21st Century?
Because it is a powerful book.
DuBose Heyward (1885-1940) wrote several books, including the acclaimed novel Porgy,
the first major southern novel to portray blacks without condescension. Just a decade later George Gershwin had transformed Heyward’s book into an opera that would become one of the most enduring masterworks of American music.
Undoubtedly, Porgy and Bess is powerful art, but what makes The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes powerful is the strength of its main character: A good mother who stays true to her core values of becoming “wise, kind, and brave!”, for all five Easter Bunnies (did you know there are five?)
must be the five kindest, and swiftest, and wisest bunnies in the whole world.
Little Mother Cottontail works hard and does her best as she takes pride in her work. No false self-esteem here, since she believes in results and achievement. She believes in herself and keeps a positive attitude. She focuses on keeping up with her everyday work (much like her creator, who kept his day job); Duty is foremost for her:
Cottontail stopped thinking about hopping over the world with lovely eggs for little boys and girls, and she took care of her babies.
She values the love of her family. She ignores the jackrabbits, the snobs and the naysayers.
And she rises to the challenge.
Some view it as a feminist fable, but it’s more than that. It’s a book about values.
I only read The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes recently, after a friend recommended it. It’s funny, the prose is perfect, and you will cry, and laugh. The illustrations by Marjory Flack are beautiful, charming, memorable and funny. It also comes with a bookplate, “For someone wise, and kind, and brave,” perfect for giving as a gift.
Good literature is when it goes beyond the printed word to exalt the better parts of our human souls. The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes is great literature.
Order yours now so you’ll have it by Easter.
Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog. She bought the 70th anniversary edition with the shoe charm.