Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Great Grandpa Bunny Bunny

Something about rainy days brings nostalgia, or that's what happens with me anyway. And it's raining today (75 mm since Sunday night, in fact) so...

Two pages from my probably-favourite childhood picture book, Grandpa Bunny.** There's a large version of this pic over here (slow to load if you're using a dial-up, sorry).

It's the story of Bunnyville, "deep in the woods where the brier bushes grow", and Great Grandpa Bunny Bunny, who, "as every bunny knows, was the ancestral founder of the town, which is a very fine thing to be". He and Mrs Bunny Bunny had many offspring, so it wasn't long before Daddy-then-Grandpa Bunny Bunny had so many helpers in his job of painting Easter eggs that he was looking for something else to do. He started to paint the flowers in the woods, and trained some bunny apprentices:
They tried out some new shades of green on the mosses and on ferns.

They made those woods so beautiful that People who went walking there marvelled at the colours as they talked among themselves.

"The soil must be especially rich," they said, "or the rainfall especially wet."

And the bunnies would hear them and silently laugh. For they knew it was all their Grandpa Bunny Bunny's doing."
Years went by and all the Easter eggs and spring flowers were being taken care of by his children and grandchildren, so Great Grandpa Bunny Bunny (as he had become, "For that is how things go") started to teach the newest young bunnies to paint the autumn leaves. And (cue the picture above), "He taught them in winter to paint shadows on the snow, and pictures in frost on wintry window panes and to polish up the diamond lights on glittering icicles."

By the time crews of young bunnies were painting the tiny buds of spring, and the wings of new butterflies, and beetles, and creeping crawling things, and had in fact "painted up that whole wild wood till it sparkled and it gleamed", Great Grandpa Bunny Bunny was having trouble finding any work for himself. He "stayed at home a lot those days, and thought and thought and thought."

Finally he gathered that season's bunny boys and girls and told them he was going away, and shared with them the secret of his brilliant new job. After he'd gone, "The older bunnies missed him, and often they looked sad." But the younger bunnies knew better, and smiled.

>>> Look out - spoiler follows :D <<<

One day a rainstorm pelted Bunnyville, and then when it cleared, the bunny children ran out of their bunny houses, looked up at the sky, and did a bunny dance, shouting:
"Great Grandpa's been at work again! Come see what he has done!

And the People walking out that day looked up in pleased surprise.

"Have you ever," they cried, "simply ever seen a sunset so gorgeously bright?"
Ahhh... :)

Isn't it lovely? The best story for a rainy day. Great Grandpa Bunny Bunny. My hero.

**Story by Jane Werner, illustrations by The Walt Disney Studio, adapted by Dick Kelsey & Bill Justice from the motion picture, "Funny Little Bunnies". Grandpa Bunny. Sydney, Australia: Golden Press, copyright 1953 Walt Disney Productions.

**The 1972 edition (which has some variations in text and illustrations) was titled Bunny Book.

(See also... Flickr pics)