Yesterday, before my Powell's storytime, I was chatting with two (lovely) children's book room ladies about gathering a few picture books in case the littles wanted more stories after my Oddfellow's reading. "Maybe something Spring-y? Something Easter-y?" they suggested. "Or just a book you really love..."
And immediately, The Country Bunny came to mind, because it's all of those things.
I first happened on this book at Books of Wonder a handful of years ago, and lured by the candy-colored cover, I snapped it off the shelf. A few days later, I found myself at the end of a New York visit, sitting at the gate of Newark airport, reading it near-breathlessly. The illustrations are absolutely beautiful, aglow in Easter egg colors grounded by inky blues and blacks. And the story, about a brave bunny who is both an extremely good mother and has her own dreams and ambitions, is enchanting and emboldening.
As I wound through the pages (it's quite wordy by today's picture book standards) I found myself, cross-legged on the airport carpet, with tears slipping down my face. This book, about something as whimsical as the plight of a would-be lady Easter bunny, reminds me of everything good and real and true. Of the different kinds of hopes we carry around, and how those hopes don't need to cancel each other out. Of how many things a book can be, and a person can be. It reminds me of my own mama.
This interesting little New Yorker piece gives a brief history, if you're interested.
And I didn't end up reading it at Powell's yesterday, simply because of the length. But today's the perfect day to read it, anyway (preferably with a side of Cadbury eggs.)