Newbery Project – ABC Bunny

I think this particular Newbery Honor book falls solidly into the category if-only-there’d-been-the-Caldecott-before-1938. It’s a perfectly pleasant book, but I just can’t agree that it works with the text alone. Because it has the song printed at the front of my edition, I was able to read the text (plus some tra-la-la’s) by itself before I read the text in the context of the pictures, and I must say that the “story” being told is significantly enhanced by the illustrations. I didn’t even realize that there was a “plot” as such until I saw the pictures. As a whole, the book is nice enough, but I don’t think it would have even the ghost of a chance to win today. There are so many alphabet books. This one barely even stands above the rest of the field, never mind up against longer works. Perhaps I’m missing something in context though. This was 1933 after all, so it’s possible that while I see the book as a fairly standard abecedarian, this may have been the breakthrough work that all subsequent such books are based upon.

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