Zolotow, C. (1962). Mr. Rabbit and the lovely present. Illustrated by Maurice Sendak. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.
This beautiful story is about a little girl trying to find a birthday present for her mother, based on her mother’s favorite colors. She meets the ever-so-polite (and extravagant thinking) Mr. Rabbit whose suggestions help the little girl find wonderful presents – fruits representing the colors. This was one of my favorite books as a child, as much for the sweet story as the sweet illustrations, which were done in the impressionistic style of painterly media. The pictures are soft and dreamy, with muted colors that make it seem like a Monet painting. The exaggerated size of Mr. Rabbit (he’s portrayed as the size of an adult, and he stands and walks upright) contribute to almost an Alice in Wonderland feel where although it’s peculiar, it just works and is accepted. I cherish my copy, crayon marks and all, as a comforting memory from when my mother read it to me, and I read it to my children, and hopefully, I’ll be able to share it with a grandchild one day.