cover image Jeremy: The Tale of an Honest Bunny

Jeremy: The Tale of an Honest Bunny

Jan Karon. Viking Books, $15.99 (80pp) ISBN 978-0-670-88104-8

Bestselling author Karon (Miss Fannie's Hat; the Mitford series for adults) shares a thickly nostalgic tale she crafted for her daughter, Candace, more than 40 years ago. Between serving up kidney pie and making tea for her husband, a young British woman named Lydia painstakingly fashions a stuffed bunny. Her creation complete, Lydia names the toy Jeremy and he springs to life. He learns that Lydia has made him ""an honest bunny. That means that no matter what happens you will always be honest, for that's the way you're made."" He also learns he has been promised to a girl named Candace in North Carolina. Rather than travel via a shipping box, Jeremy decides to find his own passage. He embarks on the journey without fear, after Lydia consults with her own maker and assures Jeremy, via Psalm 91, that angels will watch over him along the way. Karon's characters are as consciously quaint as her settings: the jovial old gardener, eyes a-twinkling, who treats Jeremy to a tea of English Rabbit (recipe included); Jethro, a sea-captain's parrot who can sing cowboy songs; newborn bunnies; and avuncular owls. Naturally Jeremy wishes to linger, but honest bunny that he is, he perseveres to deliver himself to Candace, all the while guided by Lydia's blessing. Unfortunately, the text is a heavy-handed mix of familiar fantasy and moral. Various plot elements quickly call to mind both The Velveteen Rabbit and The Tale of Peter Rabbit, but in the text as well as in Weidner's (Helen the Fish) plentiful color vignettes and illustrations, Jeremy lacks the distinctive spunk or emotional resonance of these literary predecessors. All ages. (Jan.)