This classic, WWII era book touches on the very heart of love and loyalty. Published in 1942, when children across the world watched as their fathers moved off to the battlefields, perhaps never to return, Margaret Wise Brown crafted a touching story of a mother rabbit’s faithfulness to her little baby. The baby suggests in each page that he will run away to the farthest places he can imagine, but always it’s never far enough for him to escape his mother’s love.
The illustrations and methods used by Clement Hurd stick to the main thrust of this book’s message. Beginning with a black and white image of a child bunny fleeing his mother’s gaze, he follows each section with a full-color, still-portrait ripped directly from a child’s own imagination. The bunny flees to the mountains and becomes a bunny-shaped rock, while his mother dons her mountaineering gear to scale the heights to find him. It’s a wonderfully illustrated book with a powerful message that should be added to any child’s library, specifically if that child has suffered from any form of perceived abandonment—death, divorce, deployment, a move, etc.
This book could also serve as a remarkable starting point for a parent to discuss the ever-presence of God Himself. In a striking way, the message of The Runaway Bunny resembles much the same promises that God has made to His own children both in the parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 and in Psalm 139. In this Psalm, the writer queries, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I run from Your presence?!” and the answers are always a resounding “Nowhere!” for God is always and eternally with His children, and nothing we do or say or think can change that marvelous fact.