Have a Carrot: Oedipal Theory and Symbolism in Margaret Wise Brown's Bunny Trilogy
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The Runaway Bunny and Goodnight Moon have been popular for more than half a century, and although the third text of the trilogy,
My World, is not well known, the three texts are clearly connected. The publisher describes My World as a companion to Goodnight
Moon that allows readers to "revisit that beloved world of a little bunny and his family," and Brown and Clement
Hurd, the illustrator, referred to these books as their "classic series," but no one has ever treated them as a
trilogy or noted the pervasive use of Freudian symbols or the Oedipal structure of these books. The Runaway Bunny explores
the little bunny's fantasy of the omnipotent mother. Goodnight Moon encourages a child to defy her, and My World, the only
text in which the father appears, explores the bunny-boy's competitive approach to the father he simultaneously resents, admires
and loves, while the mother rabbit slips from prominence in his life and into the shadows.
A valuable resource for parents, librarians, professors and students interested in picture books, Have a Carrot is well
researched with extensive annotations and a useful bibliography. The combination of historical fact from Brown's life, interdisciplinary
perspectives on children's literature, and detailed analysis of the way the text and illustrations work together to convey
multiple layers of meaning offers a useful framework for students preparing papers in the fields of children's literature,
psychology, and pop culture, and invaluable insights for teachers, parents and librarians evaluating picture books they might
want to purchase.
Ran for my copies of the “bunny books” and pored over them as I read it. Whether one accepts
Freud's version of the world or not, one thing's for sure - no one who reads this book will ever look at Goodnight Moon in the same old way again.”
Simone Kaplan, Children’s Book Editor.
intelligently argued ... The pictorial art is analyzed in fascinating detail. …”
J.D. Stahl, Professor, Hollins
“Brilliant on many levels, very well researched!”
Marie Turner, MFA Vermont College.
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