Saturday, April 30, 2016

Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present (1962) by Charlotte Zolotow

Since I have a scanner now, I thought I'd profile some picture books (although truthfully I do not own many). I thought this book about a little girl searching for just the right present for her mother would be nice in honor of the upcoming Mother's Day.
The little girl (as she is referred to throughout the book) has a problem. A little girl sized problem. Her mother's birthday is coming up and she is trying to think of a good present. She enlists the help of an enormous personified bunny named Mr. Rabbit. At first all we have to go on is that the nameless child's mother likes the color red. Mr. Rabbit suggests items such as red underwear and fire engines, all of which are inappropriate.  
Finally, Mr. Rabbit comes up with the idea of giving the mother an apple. The little girl agrees, but knowing this is a cheapo gift, she decides she should give her something else to go with it. Back to square one.
this dialogue is repeated for every color featured in the book
The little girl informs the rabbit that her mother also likes the color yellow. Again, Mr. Rabbit comes up with ridiculous ideas ("But I can't give her the sun," said the little girl, "though I would if I could")until settling on a banana. Bartlett pears (?) are quickly decided on to represent the mother's affinity for the color green and blue grapes for blue.
Then the two realize that though they have come up with a very sweet, colorfully eclectic gift for the mother, they need something to present the bunch of fruit in. The little girl produces a basket and arranges the fruit in it. She bids her large rabbit friend goodbye and goes off to find her mother.
Maurice Sendak did these lovely illustrations. I remember this book well from childhood. It's such a nice way to introduce colors to young children as well as the joy of giving. Happy Mother's Day to all.

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