Illustrations are amazing things. There are many images I can recall from my own childhood—from children’s books and painting collections alike—that have seared themselves into my brain. A particular collection of Norman Rockwell covers comes to mind, as does that fantastically delicious book The Smells of Christmas, and of course anything by Richard Scarry. While in my line of work, Scarry is known best for his vocabulary collections, his unique style of dressing up cute and furry animals into normal human clothes being his greatest hallmark. But he’s also got several story books that are just a real delight to behold. I am a Bunny is one such book.
This short Golden Book is made for pre-kindergarten ages, but really can be enjoyed by all ages. Scarry follows his bunny, Nicholas, through the seasons of the year, each step of the way introducing some new aspect of nature. While Nicholas is the traditional Scarry creation in red overalls and a yellow shirt, his nature paintings are amazingly detailed and accurate. Each page offers another masterpiece fit to hang over a child’s mantelpiece (supposing we gave children chimneys), and each brings to mind afternoons of my own childhood spent pouring over these pictures and many like them, dreaming I were tiny and able to walk the paths of bunnies and mice.
This book teaches some basic nature vocabulary as well as the names of the seasons, and what one might expect to see there. It’s a great, albeit short read, and I recommend it to those parents or teachers who want to raise their children away from the incessant electronic images of our digital era and instead give them a taste of what a better childhood imagination could be.