Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Guess How Many Nut Brown Hares

I was in the bookstore the week before Easter, looking for new books for my boy's baskets. I had an armful already and was on my way to check out when I saw these two books. I couldn't resist adding them to my stack. I thought it was a cute series. When I got home I realized they don't share the same author or illustrator. Anyone else notice this?

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram. Candlewick; Brdbk edition (March 6, 1996). Adorable little nutbrown hair tries to tell papa how much he loves him. They go back and forth until it's proven without a doubt that papa has the bigger love and little nutbrown falls asleep exhausted. It's a charming story and I thought it would be just right for my littlest one's bedtime reading. There's a funny Oddaption over at GottaBook. Even funnier - one of the reviews at Amazon says,

"A minor concern: The characters are Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare. For those of us with mild dyslexia, it is too easy to refer to them as Little Brown Nut-Hair and Big Brown Nut-Hair, which is very different and considerably changes the tone of the story."

Lord I'll never be able to read it straight now! But then there are also all these fun activities at the Candlewick Press site: you can download coloring pages, posters, bookmarks, party invitations...

Goodnight, Little Hare by Sheridan Cain, illustrated by Sally Percy. Sandvik Publishing, 1998. This book came out a few years later. The similarity is uncanny. The illustrations are so much the same the hares are interchangable. This story is about a mother hare looking for a safe place to lay her sleeping little hare. All the other animals in the neighborhood keep coming by to warn her of the imminent danger of the places she's chosen. Finally a new day dawns and she ends up watching her baby sleep in the usual spot. I think my five year old might enjoy the search for security in this one. There is something soothing about examining each fear and laying it to rest. In the end mama knows what's best.

I'm still wondering about how these two books so similar in tone, style and presentation could get published a few years apart by different houses, authors and illustrators. What do you think? Can you tell which of these illustrations comes from which book?




Gregory K. said...

That is very odd, indeed. I wasn't familiar with the second book, but obviously was with the first, as your link points out. And "thanks" for sharing that Amazon review. NOT! :-)

ella said...

woah! it is odd... hmmm...

cpeep said...

The kindest word I can summon is "derivative." While it's possible that the original (British) editor might not have been familiar with the previous (American) work, one wonders how this plagarism...uhhhh, I mean HOMAGE...slipped by the American re-publisher.

Extreme Cards and Papercrafting

zoobaloogle said...

Very interesting indeed. On a separate note, I found it interesting to refer to the Big Nutbrown hare as father because I hadn't remembered the author indicating the sex of either character nor the relationship. I haven't seen it for awhile, though. I'll have to look again. Interesting what associations we appropriate.