Just in time for Easter, we’ve been thinking about our favourite books featuring bunnies – a highly populated field, it transpires. We’ve been rather strict in our criteria (no hares – sorry) and even so, this list could have been twice as long (let us know the rabbits that you think merit inclusion in the comments below). And without further ado, here’s our selection:
The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Beatrix Potter
The most famous fictional rabbit of them all – no list could be complete without Beatrix Potter’s Peter, who over-eats in Mr. McGregor’s garden, and is put to bed with chamomile tea.
Little Grey Rabbit, Alison Uttley and Margaret Tempest
Another classic of children’s literature, Little Grey Rabbit was Adrian and Mary’s immediate choice.
Watership Down, Richard Adams
An ambitious and epic adventure novel, the story of Hazel, Fiver and Bigwig features, I think it is fair to say, the most traditionally heroic rabbits on this list.
I Want My Hat Back, Jon Klassen
The villain of Klassen’s modern picture book classic is a Very Bad Rabbit. With almost no words at all and an incredibly minimal art style, Klassen manages to convey so much – deception, guilt, realisation, anger, retribution: an entire dramatic arc in little more than the direction of a gaze and the colour of type.
Little Rabbit Foo Foo, Michael Rosen and Arthur Robins
Little Rabbit Foo Foo is another Bad Rabbit. The thing I love most about this book is the way in which it wonderfully, mischievously confounds expectations: Foo Foo is warned, and warned, and warned again to stop bopping other animals on the head… and in a lesser book, this is what he would do, along with a suitable dose of contrition and a heavy moral lesson. Here, though, he does not, and the Good Fairy delivers on her threat, with spectacularly funny consequences.
Poo Bum, Stephanie Blake
Another modernist masterpiece – even more minimalist than I Want My Hat Back. Funny, surreal, brilliance, which will appeal to adults and children alike.
Pip and Posy, Axel Scheffler
Pip the rabbit is one half of this pair of best friends in the best-selling series by illustrator Axel Scheffler. Together they’ve got up to all sorts of adventures – filled with gentle humour, the books are wonderful reflections of day-to-day toddler life.
Use Your Imagination, Nicola O’Byrne
Nicola O’Byrne’s follow-up to the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize-winning Open Very Carefully features a bored rabbit who finds himself stuck with a wolf, who calls himself a librarian and takes an unhealthy level of interest in amusing rabbit with a story. But what story will they find themselves in? This is another brilliantly imaginative picture book about storytelling – it won’t be published until August, but you can pre-order it online here.
A Lullaby for Little One, Dawn Casey and Charles Fuge
At the end of a lovely, fun-filled day, there’s time for just one last game for Little Bunny and Big Daddy Rabbit and their woodland friends. But when Little Bunny gets tired and it becomes too much of a hullabaloo, Big Daddy Rabbit knows that a special lullabaloo lullaby is exactly what’s needed. This beautifully lyrical lullaby illustrated by internationally acclaimed artist Charles Fuge will be published next year – you can pre-order it online here..
Toot Goes to Dinosaurland, Catherine and Laurence Anholt
An adorably inquisitive new character from a much-loved picture book team. Toot’s little car has a most unusual feature – it has a magical sat nav system! So, when he presses the special button, off he zooms on an adventure with his trusty toy puppy for company. But where will he go first? To Dinosaurland, of course! You can buy it online here.
Bunny Boo has lost her teddy!, Jannie Ho
It’s bedtime for Bunny Boo, but where is her teddy? In the toy box? On the bookshelves? In the laundry room? Designed for the smallest of hands, and with chunky tabs for little hands to push and pull, this robust, colourful board book will delight baby readers again and again – you can buy it online here.
What are your favourite books with bunnies? Please do add your suggestions below – and Happy Easter!