|Humbug Rabbit by Lorna Balian.|
Abingdon Press, 1974.
Reprint edition available from Star Bright Books, here.
Here's a vintage Easter cutie from the year Mr. B was born! Apparently, Lorna Balian wrote and illustrated several "humbug" holiday titles. This is the first I've read, and it makes me smile!
There are two stories happening simultaneously in this book. Above ground, we meet Granny, Gracie the chicken, Otto the rooster, and Barnaby, "a most devlish cat."
Underground, we meet the Rabbit family. As the adult rabbits finish their spring cleaning, a mouse tells the little rabbits all about Easter. Their conclusion? Father Rabbit must be the Easter Bunny!
Above ground, Granny invites her grandchildren to the house for an Easter egg hunt, while below ground, the child bunnies pester Father, asking when he's going to start laying Easter eggs. It seems Easter eggs might not be coming, however. Gracie the hen isn't laying eggs, and Father Rabbit yells at his bunnies, "There is no Easter Bunny! And rabbits do not lay eggs!"
One morning, Granny finds Gracie's eggs! Barnaby the cat was hiding them. As she sets about painting them, the little bunnies below make a nice carrot cake, and tell their mother how they plan to leave cookies and carrot juice out on the table on Easter Eve for their father, who they are sure must be the Easter Bunny.
Granny hides the eggs the night before Easter, but Barnaby the cat pushes all the painted eggs down into the rabbit holes.
Easter morning comes, and Granny's grandchildren look for the eggs, while below ground, the bunnies are super-excited to find them! They were right - their father must be the Easter Bunny!
Eggs are hatching chicks in the rabbit burrow. Granny and her grandchildren can't find any eggs. It's a very mixed-up Easter! Soon, however, the bunnies and chicks pop out of the holes, making a very happy Easter for Granny and her little ones.
And the little bunnies are very proud of their Easter Bunny father. The end of the book reads:
It is the end of a lovely Easter Day. Mother Rabbit and her children have covered their muddy floor with the colored egg shells, and it looks just lovely. Father Rabbit is wondering if he really is the EASTER BUNNY. 'I told you so!' says the mouse.