Friday, April 1, 2016

Working Mothers Circa 1939

A Reading Room champion, and after-school volunteer extraordinaire, shared this mother-power winner with us. In 1939, author DuBose Heyward understood the fallacies of societal stereotypes and strictures. How wonderful that his book remains in print, as we seem to need regular reminders.

Humble Mother Cottontail, burdened with 21 children, obviously could never qualify as one of the five Easter Bunnies. Such was the sneer of the male white bunnies and the Jack Rabbits. " 'Only a country rabbit would go and have all those babies. Now take care of them and leave Easter eggs to great big men bunnies like us.' " Surely her responsibilities had sapped her swiftness. And what would befall her children during her absence at work?

The Country Bunny, however, proves that she has not lost a step. She further solves childcare through the genius of delegation: half-grown bunnies can clean and cook, after all, with proper training. During a mission-impossible egg delivery to a mountain-isolated sick child, Country Bunny displays courage and grit. Grandfather Bunny rewards her merit with a pair of gold shoes, imbued with magical leaping powers.  

DuBose Heyward also wrote the novel Porgy, and co-wrote the libretto for the inspired George Gershwin opera, Porgy and Bess. If only Gershwin had spun tunes from The Country Bunny.