Runaway Bunny

Margaret Wise BROWN

Item#: 125861 We're sorry, this item has been sold

Runaway Bunny
Runaway Bunny


BROWN, Margaret Wise; HURD, Clement, illustrator. The Runaway Bunny. New York and London: Harper & Brothers, (1942). Oblong octavo, original green cloth, original dust jacket. Housed in a custom chemise and clamshell box.

First edition of Brown and Hurd's perennial favorite about a little bunny who wanted to run away, a lovely copy in the scarce original dust jacket.

"Brown's books are still read by children—many of her books remain in print. Her goal, which she certainly achieved, was 'to make a child laugh or feel clear and happy headed… to lift him for a few moments from his own problems of shoe laces that won't tie and busy parents and mysterious clock time into the world of a bug or a bear or a bee or a boy living in the timeless world of a story" (DAB). "In a many-faceted, brief, but remarkable career, Brown pioneered in the writing of books for the nursery school ages; authored more than 100 volumes including the classic Runaway Bunny (1942) and Goodnight Moon (1947); served as a bridge between the worlds of publishing, progressive education, and the experimental arts of the 1930s and 1940s; and did much to make children's literature a vital creative enterprise in her own time and afterward" (Silvey, 95).

"Brown and Clement Hurd teamed up for a second time with The Runaway Bunny, in 1942. The hide-and-seek tale of a mother rabbit and her baby bunny was based on a medieval Provençal ballad. (Brown had spent two years at a Swiss boarding school, and her French was excellent.) The original included the lines: 'If you pursue me I shall become a fish in the water and I shall escape you./ If you become a fish I shall become an eel./ If you become an eel I shall become a fox and I shall escape you.' Brown's fresh interpretation, which has since sold four million copies, gave readers 'a little bunny who wanted to run away.' 'If you run after me,' said the little bunny, 'I will become a fish in a trout stream and I will swim away from you.' 'If you become a fish in a trout stream,' said his mother, 'I will become a fisherman and I will fish for you'… 'If you become… I will become' is the book's gentle, reassuring refrain" (Vanity Fair, December 2000, pp. 176-78). In the spring of 1941 Brown turned in her manuscript, and her editor loved it—except for the ending. After giving it some thought, Brown sent an additional line via telegraph, the final line of the finished book, "a simple addition that summed up the gentle current of love and humor throughout the book" (VF, 178): "'Have a carrot,' said the mother bunny." With publisher's code "M-Q" on copyright page, indicating a printing date of December, 1941.

Interior clean and fine, two minor marks to rear cover of generally fresh and clean cloth; scarce original dust jacket with light edge-wear, shallow chip to lower corner of front panel, two tiny abrasions to spine, but bright and exceptionally good. An excellent and desirable copy of this children's classic.

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