Monday, August 2, 2010

Little Bunny Foo Foo: An Example of Good Intentions, but Poor Editorial Advice

Most of you are familiar with the children's poem, the one where a mischievous rabbit abuses a tribe of supposedly innocent field mice whilst on his way to whatever unknown and undocumented nefarious woodland activities little bunny foo foos engage in:

Little Bunny Foo Foo
Skipping through the forest
Scooping up the field mice
And bopping them on the head

The story starts off well enough. The main character is introduced early and the conflict is clearly established. The tension begins to build when the antagonist intervenes:

Down came the Good Fairy, and she said:
"Little Bunny Foo Foo I don't want to see you
Scooping up the field mice and bopping
them on the head.
I'll give you three more days, and if you don't
behave, I'll turn you into a Goon."

The tension rises to fever pitch as Little Bunny Foo Foo continues his abusive ways for two more days, apparently entirely undeterred by the fairy's threats (though we can only guess at this, as there's no internal dialogue to help us understand our MC better).

But then, having run out of time, what does our deliciously naughty protagonist do? Defies the Fates, of course, leaving that meddlesome G. Fairy with no choice but to turn our poor defenseless friend into a goon (which, by the way, wiktionary defines as "a thug." I mean, isn't that a bit redundant?). Anyway, the point is, that's how the story ends, all just so we can say (go on, I know you wanna do it):

"Hare today, goon tomorrow."

But, really, is there anyone else who thinks this is just gratuitous word-play at the expense of good story development? Don't you feel cheated? Didn't you want LBFF to just bop that obnoxious fairy do-gooder on the head and shut her up once and for all? And maybe those field mice deserved it. Ever think of that? Hey, maybe they liked it! Maybe they asked the darn bunny to bop them. He was set up! And we'll never know if money exchanged hands because, well, the story ended too soon.

My grandfather, rest his soul, thought it wise to provide his own editorial touch when he recounted the tale to me many years ago. A former boxer-turned-Baptist minister, he was, paradoxically, probably one of the gentlest men I ever met (he preferred to let my grandmother carry out the fire and brimstone activities), but despite his good intentions, his version of the story was even worse than the established one.

First, he had the fairy threatening to turn our MC into a broomstick. Er, say what?

Then, LBFF actually becomes reformed just before the witch's - excuse me, the fairy's - spell can take hold. His story ends with the bunny patting the field mice on the head. Blech. How perfectly bland.

I never knew the real ending until I came across an old dusty record of it when I had my own children to tell it to. Imagine how cheated I felt, all because my beloved g-pa thought I wouldn't be able to handle fluffy Foo Foo getting turned into a "thug."

But perhaps my biggest argument against any of the established and nontraditional versions is that they all lack one thing: Sequel Potential.

Really. I mean, think about it. What if LBFF set a trap for G. Fairy? He captures her and makes her do his bidding, magically bopping all the field mice in the entire world, not just the forest, so he can concentrate on further developing his evil plans to take over the world? Hey, who wouldn't like to see their favorite evil politician bopped on the head by a rabid rabbit?

And think of the possibilities! Book Two has LBFF and G. Fairy teaming up against their will as they struggle not to be bopped by mutant field mice in a televised game for the entertainment of the priviledge few. Call it Mockingmice.

And the third book? I don't know. Maybe something with vampires, perhaps.

The point is, whoever came up with "Hare today, goon tomorrow," wasn't looking at the big picture.


  1. "Book Two has LBFF and G. Fairy teaming up against their will as they struggle not to be bopped by mutant field mice in a televised game for the entertainment of the priviledge few. Call it Mockingmice."

    Hilarious! Let me know if you ever want to write anything for Bradmouth. I think you'd fit in.

    theBrad (verla tag)

  2. I took one look at the subject here and almost clicked out -- I was subjected to that song over and over when my kids were little and didn't think I could take it again. But you have a fresh take on it, for which I am grateful.

    You're so right about the redundant thug issue. Anyone who goes around thumping others on the head is already a thug. G-Fairy was insufferably lazy and unimaginative.

  3. LOL... I will never think of that song in quite the same way again! Book 2 has definite YA blockbuster potential!

  4. Sheesh, I should visit my own blog more often. Sorry for the late replies back, guys.

    Hey, BradMouth visited my blog! And liked it!! And invited me to be a Mouth!!!! Guys aren't supposed to squee, are they? Yes, yes, yes. Be honored to Mouth-off. Now, just gotta think of something funny to say...

    Thanks, for the visits and comments Mary and Ruth. :)