Hampton Roads Writers

Language


Rosemary Wells has written a trilogy of children’s books collectively called Voyage to the Bunny Planet. The basic problem she sets for each book is that a child (in the form of a young bunny) has a bad day (in prose). Halfway through each little book, an unseen narrator intervenes and says that the child in question “needs a visit to the Bunny Planet.” Everything alters in this other world, first of all by changing to rhyming poetry. The world is better after we hear the words, “Far beyond the moon and stars/Twenty light years south of Mars,/Spins the gentle Bunny Planet/And the Bunny Queen is Janet.” Wells encourages children, in these wonderful books, to rethink their world, to take an emotional timeout and find a better world than the one children frequently find themselves stuck in—chaos, messes, tantrums, sickness, loneliness.

Your job with this exercise is only very tangentially linked to this trilogy. Use this hinge device that Wells employs so deftly. For the first part of your 500-word piece, tinge the world in darker hues, show us a narrative style that reflects frustration, sadness, alienation, whatever. Then, with a phrase a little like this central phrase of Wells’s, change everything—especially the narrative method. Wells goes from a very dense and quite beautiful prose (almost prose poetry, as the best children’s literature is) to this light rhyming style (although she does not stick to one method of rhyme—she uses couplets, quatrains, etc.).



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