My childhood was a little off in terms of classics. For instance, Where The Wild Things Are? Missed that one completely. I mean, maybe I read it, but it didn’t stick with me.
Same thing with Legos. I never played with Legos as a kid, and then somewhere in the middle of college, I was ALL about LEGOS! LEGOS! I WANNA BUILD A TREEHOUSE LIKE THE PICTURE ON THE BOX!
So even though The Runaway Bunny is in my bookcase, it wasn’t something I read as a kid. In fact, I distinctly remember My Mother The Phone Harpy Whom I Love Very Very Much buying me this copy a few years ago when the bookstore in the mall was going out of business. I bought the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, and the Lloyd Alexander Black Cauldron series (still an excellent and underappreciated series.) My mother bought The Runaway Bunny, and then gave it to me.
Now, everyone knows the basic story of the Runaway Bunny, right? He’s not Pat The Bunny, he’s the Runaway Bunny. He runs away. Repeatedly. Because he’s trying to get away from his Stalker Mother.
Fine, yes, I KNOW it’s a religious metaphor. Runaway Bunny is Amy as Runaway Bunny’s Mom is God. And that there’s nowhere that Runaway Amy can run to that God can’t find her, and the depths He will go to get back to her. And it’s touching, and beautiful, and a lovely game of Find The Hidden Runaway Bunny In The Picture, and la la la.
But seriously, people. Have you read the story lately?
Once there was a little bunny who wanted to run away.
So he said to his mother, “I am running away.”
“If you run away,” said his mother, “I will run after you.
For you are my little bunny.”
ALERT! ALERT! STALKER MOMMY IN EFFECT! Because I’m sure the Runaway Bunny has a good reason for running away. A reason that nobody is listening to, just merely brushing off the silly reasons of a Runaway Bunny.
“If you are a gardener and find me,” said the little bunny,
“I will be a bird and fly away from you.”
“If you become a bird and fly away from me,” said his mother,
“I will be a tree that you come home to.”
This picture scares the crap out of me. Stalker Mommy Bunny has turned herself into the only place that Runaway Bird Bunny can land, regardless of where he wants to go. Again, Runaway Bunny isn’t being heard. I’M LISTENING, RUNAWAY BUNNY! I AM!
“If you become a tree,” said the little bunny,
“I will become a little sailboat, and I will sail away from you.”
“If you become a sailboat and sail away from me,” said his mother,
“I will become the wind and blow you where I want you to go.”
Smothering Stalker Mommy Bunny! It’s not about what where you want your kid to go! Let the kid goes where he wants to go! He’s got plans! He’s got ideas! Let him breathe!
“Shucks,” said the bunny,
“I might just as well stay where I am and be your little bunny.”
That’s right! Beat your kid down so he just gives in to what you want!
And so he did.
“Have a carrot,” said the mother bunny.
That’s my My Mother The Phone Harpy Whom I Love Very Very Much’s favorite part. “Have a carrot” she likes to say.
Seriously, am I the only person who ever saw the story that way? Maybe that’s my next project. A retelling of Runaway Bunny, from the kid’s point of view. A thriller, in which he desperately tries to avoid his shapeshifter mom, and nobody will believe him when he tries to tell the authorities she’s a killer. Hmmmmmm.