Tuesday, March 20, 2012

"The Easter Bunny That Grew Up" -A Book Review

Today I was surprised to find I received my copy of the book The Easter Bunny That Grew Up in the mail, having arrived earlier than I expected.  I was looking forward to seeing what it was like. I heard and read all this stuff about the rabbit Flopsy Parker and his legacy with his mom, Gretta Parker, having started the non-profit organization "Baskets for Bunnies". This organization helps out Rabbit Rescues and Shelters in many ways, where it is most needed. For further info on Baskets for Bunnies, Flopsy and Gretta Parker you can read more about them on other posts click here and click here . There you will find links that go directly to their pages as well.

This book is written by Gretta Parker and illustrated by Maya Tolliver. The book which I received is a very nice paperback edition, which has an adorable cover picture of Flopsy Parker, the bunny adopted by the book's author. The story is not written with simple words such as a first grader might read by one's self.  The story and words read from the rabbit's point of view, which can be very insightful to the child reading it,having it read to them or to anyone actually reading it.  One thing I like about this is that I believe a child (or anyone for that matter) can read or be read to from this book and relate to the rabbit's experience. A child can relate to the world of the rabbit from wanting to be loved and viewing their own world and coming to conclusions based on the limited experiences they have lived through.  The approach this book takes though also has a very reassuring tone in the upheaval Flopsy Parker, the bunny, experiences in his former life when he was known as Marshmallow and the transitions he experiences as he moves past that to become Flopsy.

Flopsy starts out as Marshmallow when bought as a baby bunny at a pet store as an Easter gift. He is cute and affectionate so the family are at first loving and affectionate with him. As time goes on, as with many holiday gifts, the novelty of the gift wore off.  Being able to see from Marshmallow's point of view, he is not a toy that may be set aside and perhaps luckily picked up later, the bunny is a warm, living and loving social creature that has feelings!  The story goes on as he goes on a car trip with his family to a place that he thinks might be the vet, but instead turns out to be an animal shelter. The story goes on to discuss the rest of his time at the animal shelter and after what seemed to be much time passing slowly and sadly to a lady walking into the shelter and bringing him home and the rest of his great history! I will not give it away.

The illustrations basically represent the parts of Flopsy Parker's life that weren't spent with Gretta, his human mommy. Gretta took high quality photos of him practically everyday, so those are what's used in his life with her.  Maya Tolliver's illustrations go perfectly with the tone of the book and the situations. They have a simplicity and mood that demonstrate some of the confusion and bewilderment the poor bunny must have felt at on the occasions portrayed. "Life is changing, is surreal and I don't know why. My whole world as I know it has changed and made me confused and insecure". The pictures not really being colored in fully or "solid" give the feeling of the transition and of watching from afar or as in the end, as watching over things.  They seem very fitting and have a great quality of not being overwhelming, but getting the point across in a clear comfortable manner easily digestible by a young reader.

This book is not your typical sugar-coated everyone-lives-happily-everafter story. It does have some heartache and difficulty, but also shows much joy that is true and real. It goes beyond fairy tale type stories and demonstrates the beauty of magic of love when one takes the time to look at and find the beauty in something or in someone!  It is a story of how the light from within can spark the flames of inspiration in many others exponentially for the good of others in this world.  There is no fairy-tale magic. It is the true magic of the spirit of love but in our world of reality.

The image I get in my head of this book with a child is that the child is being read to! The book can foster discussion between adult and child about animals, pets, life, what it's like to be an animal, are you ready for a pet, etc. It can help anyone empathize with the point of view of the animal. It is simple enough for a child to grasp, but sophisticated enough for anyone to appreciate also. This book can change the way one sees and understands things from our own narrow human points of view.  As a secondary benefit, this book also has a spiritual but non-denominational point of view expressed in it at one point which can be very comforting in discussing things such as the Rainbow Bridge.

I also like the fact that this book doesn't villianize Flopsy's former family, but rather show that they made some poor decisions. This book strongly encourages educating one's self about the needs of the animal before bringing a pet into one's home and to point out that it is a living creature that requires a commitment.  This book teaches lessons on how many things can become affected if one acts impulsively without thinking and becoming informed on the commitment you are making. I also do like the fact that at least they also didn't drop the rabbit into the woods, a park or the grounds of a farm like often happens. Rabbits are prey animals and domestic ones are not native in the USA, nor do they have proper instincts to protect themselves.

If you would like to learn more about this book or to purchase it you can click here .  The proceeds from this book go to support Baskets for Bunnies and the Flopsy Parker Memorial Rabbit Sanctuary. You can read more by clicking here also.

The book also lists many rabbit rescues and other related organizations in the back as a great resource as well for those who have adopted, want to adopt or are thinking about it!

I would recommend this book for children who might be at the age of thinking about wanting a pet. This is a good way to open any discussion for anyone of any age actually about taking responsibility before acting impulsively when it comes to impulsively obtaining a pet/companion animal. Rabbits are great companion animals but have needs and aren't for everyone. Any animal one brings in shouldn't just be thought of as, "I can just get rid of it if or when I don't like it."  The compassion and outpouring that is described in regards to Flopsy really did happen and continues to inspire and grow!

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