July 13, 2006

DTBBC: "In the end, the big bunnies win."

guess_how_much.jpg runaway_bunny.jpg
Title: Guess How Much I Love You Author/Illustrator: Sam McBratney, Anita Jeram Reviewed by: Kelli

On the surface, this seems like a sweet little book about two rabbits declaring their love for each other.

But, why does the Big Nutbrown Hare constantly have to outdo the Little Nutbrown Hare? Why does he have to get in the last word--after the Little Hare is asleep? Why not let the Little guy win one once in a while? Can't the Big Hare just accept the love of the Little Hare? Isn't the Little Nutbrown Hare's love GOOD ENOUGH?

Title: The Runaway Bunny
Author/Illustrator: Margaret Wise Brown, Clement Hurd

Another bunny story that's a little bit off. Little bunny talks about running away and Mama bunny answers each of his plans with her own bit of stalker-like behavior. In the end, the bunny resigns himself to staying right where he is--right where the mother bunny wants him. The big bunny wins again--and gets in the last word.

[ed. note: I was always impressed by MWB's cross-promotion. The flyfishing scene is on the wall in Goodnight Moon, and it turns out this is the old lady whispering hush, too. The only slicker cross-sell is in Peggy Rathmann's Ten Minutes To Bathtime, which happens down the street from the Goodnight Gorilla-house.]


Since you bring up Goodnight Gorilla, I gotta ask something... in our boardbook version of this, the middle pages, where the animals are following the zookeeper home, there are two identical pages in a row. My question(s) - are these pages somehow slightly different? is this a mistake in our book? is every copy of this book like this?

Oh, and that review of Guess How Much I Love You is the same issue I raised with the book somewhere else. Glad I am not the only one that gets annoyed by that daddybunny.

(and one other thing that annoys me about this book -- last night, as my wife was reading this book to our daughter, I pointed out that Little Nutbrown Hare standing on his back legs and stretching his arms up over his head is the same "amount" as the next page where he stands on his head and loves his father "up to his toes". My wife gave me a dirty look.)

[sounds like you have an extremely rare production error version of Gorilla. Sell that on eBay and pay for the kid's college. As long as it's in mint condition. Has it been chewed on, ever? -ed.]

I love "Guess How Much I Love You." I bought it for my husband before our first child was born. Daddy bunny reminds me of my husband - they're both really competitive.

"Runaway Bunny" was my son's favorite for a while. I agree that it's bizarre. Besides the "I will be the wind and blow you" line, there's also the little boy in a house - which looks like much the same house as the Goodnight Moon book, but there he's a "little boy" and in Goodnight Moon, it's a bunny. So why in Goodnight Moon do bunnies live in houses, but in Runaway Bunny bunnies live under trees?

That "Guess how much I love you" book has the craziest names in it. I'm not convinced they aren't some kind of coded message.


Regarding the double-page in Gorilla, we have a Miss Spider's Tea Party like that. On another note, have you noticed that when the animal parades are happening, first one person is looking out the neighbor's window, then two, then three? Or am I the last to notice this?

Hey, I love Guess How Much I Love You! I never thought of the competitiveness part. Maybe that's why my husband isn't crazy about it.

Runaway Bunny is a tad odd.

What I want to know is, having a duplicate page, am I missing out on some vital piece of plot development??

No, Kaz, you're definitely not missing anything. The animals march in line through the yard to the house, then into the front hallway, then into the bedroom. That's it!

Thanks to Greg for noting the related bathtime book. I haven't seen that one but will check it out. My girl loves Goodnight Gorilla.

In my sleep-deprived state, it took me an embarrasingly long time to realize that Goodnight Moon, Runaway Bunny, and My World were all Brown/Hurd books with the same bunny family. In my defense, we do keep each of those books in a different room (not on purpose, just happened).

I don't have a problem with Guess How Much I Love You b/c in the end the little bunny does sort of get the last say while he's not asleep. Only after he goes to sleep does daddy get the last word. Which is better than what my father would have done.

Runaway Bunny just creeps me out.

I have a Chris Rashka board book that has a repeating page and I know we're missing out on plot from the page that should be in it's place and I've yet to see it anywhere else to buy a complete book.

I really think you're missing the point on 99.9% of these books. They are childrens' books. They are make believe. I promise our kids come up with vastly stranger ideas than are in these books. And in Guess How Much I love You - as one other person noted - the daddy bunny gets the last word after the baby goes to sleep. Sure it's a little competitive - but it's competitive about how much they love each other. I don't think it could be any sweeter. Right after I had my first son whenever I read this book to him it made me bust out in tears - chalk it up to hormones - but the point is it's sweet, not creepy! To the extent you can't get this - or the Barbabpapas - or any of the other fabulous books you've posted as bizarre - then you just don't get kids books - either that or you're that annoying person who can't sit back and enjoy the movie despite the fact that it is totally unbelievable...

[I think I'll post more with a wrap-up of the contest, and there is at least one awesome link elsewhere discussing what "bizarre" really means for a children's book. But for now, I'll just point out that these are written by dozens of people, not one "annoying person," and that "bizarre" or "headscratching" will be, by definition, subjective and personal.

I personally find "Runaway Bunny" very touching and poetic. Not GOOD poetry, mind you--and not terribly good art, either, for that matter--but very nice. And I love reading it with the kid precisely because it's fantastical and unrealistically extreme. But if someone else sees it as stalkerish, I can understand that, too, and find it kind of funny. OTOH, that other momstalker book creeps me out, and other people love it. Go figure. Either way, it can be a short trip from sweet to creepy, which is kind of the whole point. I hope people got that. -ed.]

I think I alluded to this same thing in a previous post. Some books are just weird, and I think that appeals to kids. Others, such as the insane Thomas book I originally mentioned, just have almost a total disconnect, plot-wise, from page to page, and just leave you saying, "wtf?!".

I mean, look how no one (oh, wait, there was one, wasn't there?) nominated a Dr Seuss book, which hardly make a lick of sense, but everyone understands and enjoys that.

As for the Guess How Much I Love You, I just felt the dad should have given in sooner. I do. Typical conversation:

My Daughter: "daddy's!"
Me: "No, that's mommy's"
Daughter: "daddy's!"
Me: "No, it is actually mommy's"
Daughter: "daddy's!"
Me: "okay, it's daddy's.. (trying to change subject) look, what's that over there?!?"

I always skip the last page of "Guess How Much I Love You". What's wrong with just accepting the little bunny's love and not besting it?

A much better ending would be "I love you that much too."

I read a very funny thing in an old Mothering magazine: this man always thought as a child that the book was "Run Away, Bunny" as in, get away from the overpowering controlling mother figure. Then my born-again mother in law thinks it's all an allegory for God's love.

That would all be fine except for the "blow you" page, I still can't read that one without pausing for self-control.

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