The Puzzle of Life Conveys a Conundrum for the Easter Bunny in This Classic Easter Picture Book.
The Easter Bunny That Overslept
By Priscilla Friedrich, Otto Friedrich; illustrations by Adrienne Adams
Imagine a story of how a rabbit named Peter came to be called the original Easter Bunny in a place called April Valley. Filmed in what was billed as “Animagic,” a stop motion animation project using figurines, Animagic’s original claim to fame came in 1964 for the mother lode of Christmas animation specials, second only to “A Charlie Brown Christmas”. It was called “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Sound familiar now?
But for this particular 1971 hour-long, made for TV special that the team of Rankin/Bass also put together, it was titled “Here Comes Peter Cottontail.” It featured an all-star voice cast, heralded by such notables as Danny Kaye, Vincent Price and Casey Kasem, as the voice of Peter.
From numbers topping five hundred thousand hits on the YouTube space where it appears, as well as purchase on DVD, many enjoyed this made for TV special as children.
Now, they revisit it with their own children. I remember seeing it for the first time in the 1970’s with my own kids. By my calculations, that’s not quite 50 years ago. Yikes!!!
Then, imagine in 2015, you discover the original story, probably began from a picture book from 1957, called “The Easter Bunny That Overslept.” Why is it so hard to fathom that many of these animation ideas always begin with the written word?
Nine times out of ten, the movie starts with the book!! I guess what I’m getting at is: “Always go back to the source material and give it a read.” Witness the movie hit of a few years back of “Cinderella.”
Please have children read The Brothers Grimm version, plus Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen” that generated the movie “Frozen,” and also his story of “The Little Mermaid.” Did you think that the story of Ariel just popped from the sea?
Nope.The original story was a creation of Hans Christian Andersen that morphed into the movie for modern audiences. Please don’t let your young readers miss out on the original stories!
It’s only, as I said, not quite 50 years from the TV debut of “Here Comes Peter Cottontail”, that I discovered a copy of the original picture book story from whence, I believe, rose the TV tale. The picture book tells the tale of the Easter Bunny that arises from a snooze on Mother’s Day to discover he’s missed Easter entirely!
It’s called “The Easter Bunny That Overslept” by Priscilla and Otto Friedrich with illustrations by Adrienne Adams, although later editions have illustrations by Donald Saaf.
The Easter Bunny post-nap goes through the holiday-themed calendar with his egg basket. Imagine trying to palm off Easter eggs on July 4th? Halloween? Pretty tough sell for this bunny, no? It takes a gift from Santa himself to prevent a repeat of the napping lapin the next year.
Below please find a link to the original Rankin/Bass special, plus another that features one song from the special that is, well, endearingly comforting and sweet.
It’s my absolute favorite called “In The Puzzle of Life.” Great philosophy behind its lyrics for young readers today!
It’s sung by the inimitable Danny Kaye and the lyrics, if you listen closely, will advise young listeners to look for HOPE, if it seems to have gotten lost in their lives, lately:
The Puzzle of Life
If you find that it’s lost,
Well, the puzzle cannot be completed.
For that piece is called HOPE,
And without it our cause is defeated.
In the puzzle of life,
Hope is there; listen close,
And you will find it.”
That seems a much needed ingredient that we all need in this spring of 2020.
I love the song and still sing it.
Happy Easter, Snuggery readers!
As I mentioned, here is a link for the song, followed by a link to the entire movie!
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