Richard Scarry’s I Am a Bunny by Richard Scarry and Ole Risom

Richard Scarry’s I Am a Bunny – at a glance

The School Reading Lists’ five word review: gentle, phenological, nature-loving nostalgia.
Children’s book title: Richard Scarry’s I Am a Bunny.
Children’s author: Richard Scarry.
Children’s illustrator: Ole Risom.
Genre: Children’s fiction.
Published by: Faber Children’s.
ISBN: 9780571375073.
Recommended for children aged: 0-5 years.
First published: Hardback, January 1963 (this edition: board book March 2024).
This children’s book is ideal for: young nature lovers and those at the beginning of their reading journey: preschool, EYFS and reception.

Richard Scarry’s I Am a Bunny by Richard Scarry and Ole Risom

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Our review:

Originally published in 1963, I Am a Bunny is undoubtedly a children’s classic. Its success can be evidenced by the condition of an original; typically worn down along the edges, a split spine taped back together with love. This book is special because, despite the numerous editions (of which Goodreads cites a whopping forty-one), each reprint has retained Scarry’s marvellous artwork. The retro illustrations have this dated but still-modern appeal that many adults will appreciate.

I am a Bunny by Ole Risom and Richard Scarry spread 1

The front cover boasts Scarry’s familiar gouache strokes in the form of a bunny who is smiling gently at us, seemingly content in the rain and unbothered by the irony that the very book it resides on is falling apart. Interestingly, a worn-down book was precisely what Scarry desired; akin to a child’s deteriorating favourite stuffed toy, he saw this as a reflection of sentimental value. It seems beautifully fitting to continue this sentiment.

I am a Bunny by Ole Risom and Richard Scarry spread 2

Apart from the obvious difference in condition – of course, this 2024 edition is delightfully bright, glossy and fully intact – the most obvious difference is its shape; a somewhat dated narrow size previously, Faber & Faber have chosen the more conventional, small square we usually see today – ideal for little hands.

I am a Bunny by Ole Risom and Richard Scarry spread 3

Risom similarly had little readers in mind by way of anthropomorphising a relatable young bunny as the focalisation of this story. Throughout, the reader is shown how to gently interact with nature through the changing of seasons; picking a dandelion, spreading its seeds, butterfly spotting. The simple plot subtly encourages a love of nature for young readers through the eyes of an innocent, happy-go-lucky character. Like most books written for children, but possibly more so in this instance, adults will enjoy reading this book because of its ability to relive childhood memories, all the while contributing to the creation of new ones.

I am a Bunny by Ole Risom and Richard Scarry spread 4

Our verdict:

Aimed at children aged 0-5, this book is a must-have for the classic picturebook collection. Since its original print over fifty years ago, it has been translated into multiple languages, including bilingual editions, proving to be a valuable resource for classrooms and homes alike.

Many thanks to Faber Children’s for the review copy.

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If you like Richard Scarry’s I Am a Bunny by Richard Scarry and Ole Risom you might also like: Richard Scarry’s Bunnies by Richard Scarry, Nature Words by Pat-A-Cake, The Flopsy Bunnies by Beatrix Potter and Charles Santore and Rosie’s Walk by Pat Hutchins.

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About Lucinda Brocklehurst

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Lucinda is an artist, home educator and student based in Gloucestershire. To support her developing career in children’s publishing, she volunteers in literary roles and works alongside children and young people as a childminder. She is a part-time student with Open University, studying a BA in Childhood and Youth Studies and hopes to continue onto an MA in Children's publishing. Linkedin | Reviews by Lucinda Brocklehurst