Whitey, the Bunny Whose Wish Came True

Lydia Scott, illustrated by Mildred Wetmore (1939)

My grandparents had an eclectic collection of children’s books, none of which were of recent vintage, so they must have belonged to my mother and her sisters. My siblings and I read all of them over and over during visits to the grandparents, mainly because we were a captive audience. But Whitey was a true fan favorite. I located a (rare, hard-to-find) copy for my brother a few years ago because he wanted his daughters to learn the book’s timeless lesson about overindulging. Or so he claimed. He probably just wanted to see it again.

Whitey the bunny has a huge sweet tooth, and for his birthday, he is allowed to eat all the sweets he wants. Which he does. And he gets a stomachache. I remember an illustration that showed small soldiers marching over Whitey’s distended belly as he lies suffering in his darkened room. This was a metaphor for his pain, not a depiction of Whitey’s reality. But why soldiers? Had he been eating chocolate soldiers? Did he have a collection of toy soldiers that were now, in his hallucinating misery, stomping on him? I’ll have to ask my brother. The resolution involves a nice bowl of tomato soup. Pretty much the classic hero’s journey.

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