What is it about rabbits that makes them such great protagonists in children's books? Long ears? Twitching noses? Big eyes? Regardless, generations of us have loved characters such as Peter Rabbit, The Velveteen Rabbit, and the Runaway Bunny. Rabbits have even taken starring roles in adult books. Who can forget the noble Hazel in Richard Adams's Watership Down? Now Jan Karon, author of the popular Mitford series, introduces another lovable cottontail to children's literature in Jeremy: The Tale of an Honest Bunny (all ages). Lydia, an English seamstress, has created Jeremy for an American purchaser. When he's finished and ready to talk, Lydia tells him, I made you an honest bunny. No matter what happens, you will always be honest, for that's the way you're made. But as he is about to be packed for the trip, Jeremy can't bear the idea of lying in a box he'd rather make his own way to America. And so with Lydia's parting words to keep his tie straight, he sets off. His adventures include tea with an eccentric Mr. Pruneholt and a trip across the ocean in a ship's cabin with the noisy parrot Jethro. There are even more interesting characters and adventures on this side of the ocean Village Dear, Mr. Piggs, Percy the Owl, a family of bunnies, a ravenous fox, and Preacher Greer. Ê Our honest hero Jeremy never forgets his North Carolina destination, nor the words from Psalm 91 that he carries over his heart, and, although his tie is limp and his silver buttons gone, he does arrive at the home of Candace, safe at last. Teri Weidner's numerous color illustrations throughout the 82-page book are soft and vibrant, many of them full-page.
Jeremy was written for Karon's daughter. I wanted to do something . . . that would last a long time; perhaps even a lifetime, she explains. The story does have a timeless quality peppered with some modern touches. My bet is that Jeremy will become another much-beloved rabbit hero in children's books. Etta Wilson is constantly looking for great children's books and authors.