The Runaway Bunny

Common Sense Media says

Sweet, imaginative story makes little ones feel secure.





What parents need to know

Educational value

Little children will learn simple facts about nature, such as the fact that "crocus" is a kind of flower, that trout live in streams, and birds live in trees.

Positive messages

By telling her little bunny that she will find him wherever he runs, the mother bunny assures her son that a mother's love follows wherever you go. Not meant in the stifling sense, her replies to the son's statements speak to the concept of unconditional love. Whether in times of trouble, confusion, happiness, or sadness, the mother bunny essentially promises to love him through it all.

Positive role models

The mother bunny models nurturing love and devotion. However, some parents may feel that by telling her son she will follow wherever he runs, the mother bunny squelches her little boy's dreams.

Violence & scariness

The little bunny's thoughts of running away may be quite upsetting for some readers. Some illustrations portray the little bunny in bold and rebellious situations, such as climbing a mountain, swimming in a stream, etc.

Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Goodnight Moon author Margaret Wise Brown's classic The Runaway Bunny is a rhythmic, sweet exchange between a mother bunny and her little bunny. The little bunny, who wants to run away, imagines taking other forms, such as a fish in a trout stream, a crocus in a hidden garden, a rock on a mountaintop. His mother assures him that wherever he goes, she will find a way to be with him: as a fisherman, a gardener, a rockclimber. Clement Hurd's soft, charming illustrations -- some black and white, and some color--show the little bunny in these different imagined forms and places. Some parents find it stifling that the mother bunny insists she will be wherever her little bunny goes. However, generations of children have found little bunny's imagined adventures entertaining, and the mother bunny's voice reassuring.

Parents say

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Kids say

What's the story?

Sitting safely on his mother bunny's lap, little bunny says that he wants to run away. When she tells him that, if he runs away, she'll run after him \"because you are my little bunny,\" he begins to imagine running off to all kinds of places and adventures: He'll become a fish in a stream and swim away. He'll become a crocus in a hidden garden, or a sailboat, or a rock on a mountaintop. Each time he has another idea, mother bunny assures him that she'll find him. She'll be a fisherman, or a gardener, or the wind, or a rockclimber to be with her son. Eventually, the story comes full circle, with little bunny saying he'll become a little boy and run into a house. Of course, mother bunny says she'll be the little boy's mother, and catch him in her arms and hug him.

Is it any good?


Charming, sweet, and reassuring, Margaret Wise Brown's The Runaway Bunny is a little more action-oriented than her best-known book, Goodnight Moon, but the rhythm of little bunny and mother bunny's dialogue is similarly soothing to little children. Clement Hurd's illustrations, also, are as warm and delightful as they are in Goodnight Moon. Very young children find little bunny's imagination inspiring, and his cozy spot on mother bunny's lap by the fire gives The Runaway Bunny a nice bedtime feeling.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about animals. Can bunnies swim? What swims in a stream?

  • What's a crocus? Can you see the little bunny inside a crocus?

  • What does little bunny eat?

  • Families can also talk about how they feel about the mother's responses. Is she right for wanting to stay with him wherever he goes?

Book details

Author:Margaret Wise Brown
Illustrator:Clement Hurd
Genre:Picture Book
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:January 1, 1942
Number of pages:48
Read alone:5
Available on:Audiobook (abridged), Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Paperback

This review of The Runaway Bunny was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 15 years old Written byTheSpoiler March 27, 2015

My childhood favorite

My mom used to read me this book all the time and I never got tired of it. One of my favorite memories. :)
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models


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