15 August 2013

Where to Find the Runaway Bunny

Fuse #8’s catalogue of public children’s-literature statuary in the US alerted me to the Runaway Bunny statue outside the Westerly Public Library in Rhode Island. The bronze figure, by Connecticut sculptor Joan Binney Ross, was installed in 1998.

Earlier this summer the sculpture was vandalized, painted with “vulgar graffiti and the letters ‘KKK’,” as the Providence Journal reported, based on now-unavailable story from the Westerly Sun. Depending on the grammatical connection between the vulgarity and the initials, that could have been either a pro-KKK or anti-KKK message.

The library and park staff had difficulty removing the paint, so they contacted Ross, who recommended a cleaner. The AP reported that the bunny was restored to its original condition.

The Stonington-Mystic Patch carried an image of the vandalized bunny. Noting that similar graffitti had been painted elsewhere in the area, it asked readers if they recognized the “tag,” but there don’t appear to have been any breakthroughs. That site also posted a video of the cleanup.

Some of those articles referred to Margaret Wise Brown, author of The Runaway Bunny, but none named the book’s artist and designer of the original bunny, Clement Hurd.

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