In my collection of illustrations and art featuring books and reading, there are a lot that involve animals. The overwhelming choice of animal is cats, followed closely by birds. I get why those two animals show up again and again. Birds for dreams and flights of fancy and cats for cozy—and both suggest interiority.
But I’ve been surprised to find I have a handful of illustrations featuring rabbits, too. I can’t really think of why. Rabbits do have a bit of literary heritage. There’s Alice in Wonderland, of course, and Peter Rabbit. Maybe the fact that they live in burrows suggests the subconscious and interiority, (but I haven’t run across many illustrations of books, reading and snakes). What mostly seems to come across is a feeling of incongruity.
Like these two intellectuals.
Or this self-satisfied fellow.
This guy has burrowed in. The way I like to.
These readers are just sweet.
There’s a load of incongruities in this one:
In this one, I like how cleverly the artist has blended the two realities. Let’s not even get into how there’s actually no reality here at all.
Here a lot of animals get a chance at reading, but the rabbit definitely stands out. As with some of the other illustrations, the joke seems to be how intellectual the bunny is. So maybe rabbits reading is all about not being a dumb bunny.
I’ve decided to focus my contributions to Books Around the Table on links to sites that intrigue me. Some will have to do with kids books, others with writing, others with quirky sparks that might intrigue you as well. If you have links you want to share which do a similar job, I hope you’ll add them via the comments below.
My favorite this time around: The photo pictured above, of two kids on a jackass. It’s from small-town Anacortes Museum’s collection of 70,000 historic images (this in a town with a population of approximately 17,000 people!) newly digitized and put online as a searchable database. Here’s the link: https://anacortes.pastperfectonline.com/randomimages
Want a writing prompt? Find historic photos of a few unrelated people whose faces or circumstances interest you. Imagine a narrative that connects them.
Books Around The Table is the blog of Margaret Chodos-Irvine, Laura Kvasnosky, Julie Larios, Julie Paschkis and Bonny Becker. We are a critique group of children's book authors and illustrators who have been meeting monthly since 1994 to talk about books we are working on, books we have read, our art and our lives. We invite you to sit down with us around the table and join the conversation.