Monday, May 6, 2019

Review - Ballad of the Lost Hare

Ballad of the Lost Hare
by Margaret Sidney
Date: 1884
Publisher: D. Lothrop & Co. Boston
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 58
Format: e-book

A story about a naughty rabbit who runs away from his family, only to confront numerous problems. Will he find his way home?

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I'm so glad I was a child in the latter part of the 20th century and not the 19th. This is a fairly depressing, uninspired book that was likely what passed for children's literature in the 1880s. Ballad of the Lost Hare is full of abuse, frightening situations, and a dismal ending. Not exactly what you think of when you think "picture book"!

The story is told in rhyme (sort of; some of the rhymes are a stretch, and the meter is all over the place) and concerns a rambunctious little hare who always wants to go out exploring. His father scolds him, his mother whips him (yeah... nice), and his brothers and sisters cry whenever he takes off. Eventually, his father basically tells him that if he goes out again, he shouldn't bother coming back.

So the hare goes out and meets all these creatures. Some are friendly, but he doesn't want to play for some reason. He just wants to run. Some of the other creatures try to kill him, like the bull and the dogs. The text concerning the dogs is rather scary and graphic:

Don't let the hungry, cruel, cruel jaws
Snap off his pretty little velvet paws,
Tear off his ears in terrible sport--
Don't let the naughty little thing be caught!

(I'm not sure what accent you need to have to make "sport" and "caught" rhyme, but it's not one I've heard recently!)

After all the hare's adventures, does he return home, snuggle into bed with his brothers and sisters, and learn that there's no place like home? Actually, no. He just keeps running and running and running, apparently doomed to run forever. Does he think of his family? The book asks the question, then says we'll never know. And the hare just keeps running.

Give me a picture book from 1984 over one from 1884 any day.

Premise: 3/5
Meter: 2/5
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 2/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2.43 out of 5

No comments:

Post a Comment