The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes (Sandpiper Books)

by DuBose Heyward

Other authorsMarjorie Flack (Illustrator)
Paperback, 1967



Call number




HMH Books for Young Readers (1967), 48 pages


To the surprise of many, the little country cottontail becomes one of the special Easter bunnies even though she has twenty-one children of her very own.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Treeseed
I collect children's books. I have thousands of them and I have read many hundreds more. The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes is my favorite one. It doesn't even have any serious competition. I was five years old the first time it was read to me in 1957. I have loved it ever since and have
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read it to every child who ever sat still around me long enough to hear it. I read it last week to a little boy named Calvin. I just gave a copy of it a few days ago to my friend's brand new baby boy, August.

Author Du Bose Heyward is perhaps better known as the creator of the character Porgy from his 1927 Pulitzer winning play of the same name that went on to inspire the Gershwin brothers' Porgy and Bess, known today as the first great American folk opera. A sickly child who as a toddler lost his father, he grew up with a sensitive and gentle nature and became a talented poet, novelist and playwright.

This wonderful picture storybook, Heyward's only one, is set at Easter time but it focuses more on Spring than on any religious theme. It's message is about love and sharing, compassion, duty and the joy of fulfilling one's responsibilities. It celebrates co-operation, modesty, individual talents, and self-confidence. It affirms the idea that great things can be accomplished if one is willing to give their utmost.

The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes was originally published in 1939 and has never been out of print. Today it is available in both hard cover and paperback formats. It was written in 1938 for the author's five year old daughter, Jenifer. Heyward originally told Jenifer about the country bunny as a bedtime story and one day artist Marjorie Flack, a fellow member of a writers' colony in New Hampshire heard it and excitedly offered to illustrate it. A classic was born!

The story is tenderly told in prose that five to nine year olds will enjoy. There are some full pages of text but there is illustration on facing pages where that occurs and in most cases there are illustrations on both facing pages. There is ample illustration to hold the interest of most children.

The tale begins by correcting the notion that there is only one Easter Bunny. It seems there are actually five. All the mother bunnies raise their children with the idea that if they learn to be wise and kind and swift they may grow up to be one of the five Easter Bunnies.

Next we meet a little brown country girl bunny named Cottontail who is determined that she will one day be in the elite group. "All of the big white bunnies who lived in fine houses and the Jack rabbits with long legs who can run so fast, laughed at little Cottontail and told her to go back to the country and eat a carrot."

Life goes on for the humble little country bunny and one day, as the book says, "much to her surprise" she has twenty-one cottontail babies. Raised with gentle loving guidance the bunnies grow up, each with a special talent and each co-operates to keep the little country cottage where they live clean and neat, harmonious and happy.

Eventually one of the five Easter Bunnies grows too slow to continue in his position and The Old Grandfather Bunny calls everyone together at the Palace of Easter Eggs so a new Easter Bunny can be chosen. It wouldn't be much of a story if Cottontail didn't make the cut. Now would it? How she convinces Grandfather Bunny to choose her is a wonderful part of the story that I will leave for you to discover with some little person you love.

Cottontail ends up with the most arduous and precious task of all on Easter Eve and her selfless efforts and determination bring the little gold shoes in to the picture. I don't want to spoil the story.

The illustrations are utterly delightful. Marjorie Flack has illustrated and written other famous children's books including the Angus series about a little black Scottie dog and Ask Mr. Bear as well as The Story About Ping. She once said that this "is a very pink book" and it is. There is some pink on every page...I think because pink is so new and springy and so innocent and also since this was originally done for a little girl. However, do not be pinkly prejudiced...any child will love this book. The pictures are all in pastels and are done with pen and ink and water colors. The illustrations are brimming with charm and I do mean BRIMMING! The little cottage and all of the 21 bunny children with their special talents are illustrated. We see the Palace of Easter Eggs with it huge halls filled to overflowing with colored eggs. We see the kind Grandfather bunny in his tuxedo with tails and elegant high society bunnies and big strong lumberjack type bunnies. It's grand! I don't know of illustrations that touch me more than these. They have certainly stood the test of time. I love them as much now as I did when this book first enchanted me back in kindergarten. The personality of Cottontail comes to life in these pictures and I remember as a child that I really truly felt privy to the secret world of Easter Bunnies when I looked at them. They are so magical.

Just wait until you see the amazing things that happen when the little Cottontail bunny really comes into her own. I love this book because it makes me feel good each time I open it as it did years ago when I was little. Marjorie Flack and Du Bose Heyward were an artistic match made in heaven and they created a masterpiece together. I hope you'll take advantage of the fact that you can probably find it in any bookstore at this time of year and treat someone to it this Spring. Make some memories. You'll love it. I promise.
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LibraryThing member magawa
This was one of my favorite books when I was younger; mostly, I assumed, because of the mass quantities of bunnies present.

Reading it again as an adult I am reassured as I to why I loved it so. It gives an new and unfettered look at the Easter Bunny and the abilities of women and courage.

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Country Bunny is about a little girl bunny who when she is young wants nothing more than to be one of the respected Easter Bunnies who delivers candy to children all around the world on Easter morning. As she grows up though and has children she has to put her dreams aside. She trains her children to cook and clean and be happy. One day she hears that one of the Easter Bunnies is retiring and takes her children to see the trials for a new Easter bunny. The oldest Easter Bunny sees her there and tests her speed, courage and kindness. The Country Bunny passes with flying colors and becomes an Easter Bunny, but the trials aren't over as she will have to deliver an egg to a very sick boy up a mountain.

She nearly fails but with some encouragement and the help of the oldest Easter Bunny's golden shoes, the Country Bunny is able to bring happiness to the sick little boy on Easter morning.

It's an adorably sweet story with a happy ending, a good message and darling illustrations. It's a good read for children up until the age of about six to eight depending on how developed they are scholastically.
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LibraryThing member t1bclasslibrary
In this very prettily illustrated little story, the little Country Bunny girl is laughed at and told she will never be one of the five easter bunnies. When she has twenty-one children, she thinks they are right, but she proves herself wise by training them, kind by keeping a kind house, and swift.
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When she has to deliver the most difficult egg, she proves herself brave as well, and is given little gold shoes to help with the task.
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LibraryThing member jjmcgaffey
I read this as a child and loved it - came across it in the bookstore and couldn't resist. It's a sweet little story, with a lovely feminist subtext - though it reminds me rather a lot of The Little Red Hen, so I don't see why the blurbers were so surprised at said feminist subtext in 1938. A
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common housewife is a very competent person - and the Country Bunny was the kindest, and cleverest, and wisest, and fastest, and bravest of all the bunnies...
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LibraryThing member pussreboots
The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes by DuBose Heyward is a classic picture book about a determined female bunny who all her life wants to be the Easter Bunny. There are challenges that potential Easter Bunnies must face. The best one is awarded magical golden shoes that give them the
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ability to travel the world in a single night.

She is told as a child that she can't because she's a girl and she will be expected to raise a family instead. Through patience and hard work she does ultimately achieve her goal. And she does but as her children are nearly grown she is given the chance at long last to wear the gold shoes. All the home management she has done with her children gives her the wherewithal to be the Easter Bunny.

Best of all, her good parenting has given her children the skills to keep the home running smoothly while she does her job. As a parent who recently went back to school and changed career with the full support of my family, I found The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes a relevant and uplifting story.
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LibraryThing member TorrieM
A very sweet story about a little girl bunny who wanted to grow up and be the Easter bunny, but everyone told her she couldn't. When she grew up she had 21 babies and everyone told her there was no way. She became the best Easter bunny there ever was. I would use this book for K-6th grade. A great
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story to read to my class every year around Easter.
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LibraryThing member Hollywood75
A story about a mother bunny who overcomes all sorts of steroetypes to become an Easter bunny. She is not only becomes an Easter bunny but plays a very important role to a child. The story teached you that life is going to give you many challenges but the rewards to overcoming these far outweigh
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the obstacles. I love reading this story time and time again. The illustrations are do beautiful and I find myself wanting to find one of those special Easter eggs every year.
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LibraryThing member callmecayce
My parents read this book to me -- and I read it myself -- when I was growing up. I was recently reminded of it and had to get a copy from the library. It was just as lovely and wonderful as I remembered it. It's a lovely story of a bunny who wants to become the Easter bunny and what happens to her.
LibraryThing member mccabe1030
Jefferson Library Lakeshore:
Long text, great moral. A mother bunny proves herself wise, swift and kind to become one the five Easter bunnies
LibraryThing member Sullywriter
The 75th anniversary edition of this classic which I believe first read over forty years ago. Makes me feel old!
LibraryThing member Cheryl_in_CC_NV
I get it. She's kind, wise, clever, swift, and brave. An early model for feminists, especially those that are mothers and want to be more.

But I found it didactic, twee, overly-pretty, and much too long.

And what about this line: And by and by she had a husband and then one day, much to her surprise
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there were twenty-one Cottontail babies to take care of."

I know girls who were surprised to find themselves pregnant, but surprised to give birth? I hope we give our daughters a bit more sex ed than that nowadays!

So, how did Jenifer turn out, I wonder...."
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LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
Cottontail always dreamed of being one of the five Easter Bunnies chosen by wise old Grandfather Bunny to deliver Easter Eggs to the children of the world, but the elegant white city bunnies and long-legged Jack Rabbits laughed at the idea of a country bunny fulfilling that role. Eventually she
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grew up, putting her dreams aside to raise her twenty-one baby bunnies. Then one day, while attending the ceremony to pick a new Easter Bunny, her wisdom and kindness, in raising her own large brood, led Grandfather Bunny to select her after all. Cottontail made countless deliveries the night before Easter, hopping until she was exhausted. Then, just when she was worn out, she was given a special task: deliver a beautiful egg to a very sick boy who lived on a distant mountaintop. It seemed impossible, but Cottontail's bravery and perseverance won her a very special prize - a pair of magical golden shoes - that made her task much easier...

Originally published in 1939, The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes has become a classic of American children's literature. I myself never happened to read it as a child, but have long been aware of its existence, and have been meaning to get to it for some time. I'm glad that I finally did, as it is a lovely little tale, one as entertaining as it is heartwarming. The story reads like a fairy-tale, one in which the worthy heroine triumphs against all odds, and gets her just deserts, while the beautiful pastel-hued artwork captures the charm of its leporine characters, and the delights of their world. The vintage style here really appealed to me, as did the gentle but colorful palette. I can readily understand why the book has remained a favorite for close to eighty years. Recommended to anyone looking for entertaining and engaging tales featuring Easter Bunnies and the eggs they are said to deliver, or mothers whose skills at parenting are utilized in other fields as well.
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LibraryThing member aratiel
My very favorite Easter (and bunny) story. Not only are the illustrations charming and the story good for its own sake, it also has a surprisingly progressive message: that women really can have it all - 21 children AND an important job. A review from the inside cover: "It's difficult to believe
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that this very modern feminist tale was originally written in 1939..." (-Learning).
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Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

48 p.; 10 inches





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