“MS” magazine used to feature children’s stories that had a feminist slant. I have two daughters, and so I enjoyed reading them the stories picked by “MS”. I was surprised one issue though to open it up to see a favorite from my childhood “The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes.”
I was confused by the choice. How could a 1939 book written by a man have any relevance for my daughters today?
I found the book Dubose Heyward penned for his own daughter, is a feminist classic. I felt such warmth toward the author, a father who would write for his daughter a book that teaches the lesson, no matter what, you can follow your dreams.
The Country Bunny in question, has 21 children. She seems not quite sure how that happened. She’s also not one of the “rich bunnies”. She wants to be one of the Easter bunnies though. She tries out for one of the openings, despite the jeers of the rich bunnies. Among the jeers, that she has so many children. However, she wins a spot as the new Easter bunny through the skills she learned while raising 21 children. Her parenting skills do translate into the workplace.
The children all step up to take on the responsibilities of helping run the home, including supplying music and art which this wise Country Bunny knew was important to the happiness of all.
What follows, the determination and ability of the Country Bunny winning the day and the ultimate prize of the golden shoes, will inspire any child.
Reading it, I imagined how a young mother, with children might feel. As a young mom myself, I sometimes felt overwhelmed with work and home. My husband was in the Navy and away from home often. I remember reading this book and just crying. If this bunny with no fancy clothes and 21 children could do it, I could too. I began to see my family not as “I am the mom and I have to take care of everyone.” to “We all need to help take care of each other, we’re a family.” Mom gets to live her dreams also, not just make the dreams of everyone else possible.
Of course the charming illustrations by Marjorie Flack are among the best illustrations ever in children’s literature.
I loved this inspiring story so much, I have a print of the Country Bunny and her children up in my daughter’s room. The hand holding in the illustration showed them, “We watch out for each other and support each other. We’re strongest when we all work together.”