Hippity hop hop, Easter’s on its way—but these bunny-themed children’s books are classics year-round
“What heaven can be more real than to retain the spirit-world of childhood?” So wrote Beatrix Potter in her diary in the year 1896, three years after she began telling the tale of a mischievous blue-bedecked bunny to the son of her former governess, and five years before the same story—published as The Tale of Peter Rabbit—began its journey to become one of the best-selling books in the world. It’s no mystery why the image of the common garden rabbit—small, shy and ever-so soft—has made its way into the cannon of children’s literature time and time again, and at no time more than Easter do Peter and his floppy-eared posse make for the perfect bedtime companions for the kiddos in our own lives.
The Runaway Bunny, The Velveteen Rabbit, Guess How Much I Love You…the list continues! On our trip down memory lane, we reached out to Red Stick Reads founder Teresa Hyfield to see which bunny-themed books she recommends for children, especially this time of year. Below, read her take on each of these top rabbit-oriented page turners.
Pete the Cat and the Big Easter Adventure
By James Dean and Kimberly Dean
Pete may be a cat, but he’s on a mission to help a bunny…the Easter Bunny! Pete is the coolest cat around and with his help, the Easter Bunny is able to complete his Easter mission and deliver eggs to all the kiddos in town.
Kids love Pete the Cat books because they are humorous and provide a fun rhyming scheme; it’s a series that features Pete’s unique brand of coolness, while imparting some of life’s more important lessons
How to Catch the Easter Bunny
By Adam Wallace and Andy Elkerton
Anyone can find Easter eggs, but can you find the Easter Bunny? With this fun read, kids can dream up traps that can help catch the elusive bunny…all while stretching their imagination! The How to Catch… series features lots of fun titles like How to Catch a Leprechaun, a Unicorn…etc., and gives kids the unique experience of putting their imagination into action as they are inspired to create and build traps. I love this series because it’s a great intro to tie in lots of STEM activities in the classroom setting as well.
Hippity Hoppity, Little Bunny
By Cottage Door Press
This board book is perfect for babies and toddlers because of its sturdiness, plus its adorable pictures and rhyme scheme. Little Bunny is a finger puppet book that kids and adults will love making come to life.
Charlotte the Scientist is Squished
Written by Camille Andros, Illustrated by Brianne Farley
Charlotte is a bunny, and she is a serious scientist with a big problem. She is squished by all her brothers and sisters and has no space to conduct all her science experiments. Readers will love following along as she teaches them the scientific method to solve her dilemma. Another wonderful book promoting STEM ideas with kids.
Plus a few inRegister staff picks…
Written by Margaret Wise Brown, Illustrated by Clement Hurd
A multigenerational favorite, few families can hear the title of this childhood classic without instantly transporting themselves back into footie pajamas, quiet bedrooms and the fuzzy comfort of this bunny family’s ease into restful sleep. A calming, meditative read for parents and children alike.
Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present
Written by Charlotte Zolotow, Illustrated by Maurice Sendak
In this slightly more obscure picture book illustrated by one of the greats of children’s literature, a young girl searches for the perfect birthday gift to bring home to her mother, accompanied through varyingly delightful countryside locations by a mysterious, sea-green rabbit with helpful ideas. In this simple, imaginative book, children learn the names of colors while also understanding that the best gifts of all come strictly from the heart.
The Velveteen Rabbit
By Margery Williams Bianco, Illustrated by William Nicholson
Perhaps designated for the slightly older child more accustomed to literary language and the pacing of plot, this classic book about a band of toys has nonetheless remained a bedroom shelf staple for almost 100 years. Knowing conversations and comforting notions about love, family and loyalty abound in this touching tale of a stuffed rabbit longing to become real for his owner.
Previously a pop-up shop found at local markets, Red Stick Reads now has its own brick-and-mortar location at 541 Eugene St., where books for children and adults alike share shelf space. The shop is open Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. For more details on the shop, visit redstickreads.com or @redstickreads on Instagram.