The role of fictional animal characters in children’s books, cartoons, or movies is quite important. We all love to see little furry animals talking and interacting with kids. The fictional character of the bunny in Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland is probably one of the striking pieces of children’s literature that come to mind when talking about fictional rabbit characters. The way that little bunny piques Alice’s interest is intriguing. The fact that rabbits are cute little furry animals is also a major factor in making them popular among children.
History of Rabbits in Popular Children’s Literature
Rabbits are undoubtedly very dominant in British children’s fiction. They can be seen as an important part of the very famous “Pooh” books, along with Alison Uttley’s “Little Grey Rabbit” series and many more. However, it cannot be claimed that these fictional rabbit characters originated in the UK or USA. Some popular children’s literature comprising of rabbits, such as Peter Rabbit, is found to be rooted in the African-American folktales by Joel Chandler Harris during the 19th century.
The contexts of the literature vary from culture to culture; nevertheless, the inspiration and persona of the character all relate to its roots. Talking about the history of these fictional rabbit characters in the US, it is noted that most of them are infamous for being the bad guy. For example, Howard R. Garis’ Uncle Wiggly Longears or Margery William’s The Velveteen Rabbit in 1922.
Fun fact: The celebrated Mickey Mouse by Walt Disney also debuted as a rabbit known as Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.
Most Famous Fictional Rabbits of All Times
Note: The list is in no specific order.
1. Ricochet Rabbit
Ricochet Rabbit debuted in 1964 in two of the famous shows by Hanna-Barbera named, “The Magilla Gorilla Show” and “The Peter Potamus Show. The fictional rabbit character in the shows depicted a sheriff in the Wild West town of a place named Hoop n Hooler. The character was named after his habit of bouncing off on objects while he yelled, “Ping-ping-ping.”
2. Hodge Podge
Hodge-Podge was a comic strip character by Berke Breathed. This comic strip, “Bloom County,” also won the Pulitzer Prize. The content of the comic is related to an overview of the social and cultural issues that are faced by people in a small town in America. The animals talking and interacting like humans was one of the catchiest aspects of the series.
3. Basil Stag Hare
This fictional rabbit character was the brain-child of Brian Jacques, starring in his famous series of books called Redwall. This fictional rabbit character is not fully a rabbit, rather a cross between a hare and a stag. He is portrayed as a non-judgmental character that loves stags and rabbits and hares.
4. Puppy Hare
First appearing in 1993 as a part of the Star Fox mercenary team in one of the famous video games in history, this fictional rabbit character is a space shooter. He is the one with the most wisdom and is regarded as one of the team’s oldest members.
5. Cutey Bunny
If you have never heard about a superheroine depicted by a bunny, then it is time to review something fantastic by Joshua Quagmire. This superheroine is depicted as the alter ego of Kelly O’Hare, the world’s famous African-American special agent and superheroine. She appeared in the series named after her, “Cutey Bunny.”
This fictional rabbit character is also an alter ego of a boy named Bobby Caswell. The boy originally takes the form of a superhero rabbit and can fly. The creator of this character is Martin Greim, and it debuted in 1984.
7. Marlon Bundo
This is one of the latest additions to the list. This fictional rabbit character is portrayed as the family pet of Mike Pence, the Vice President. Marlon Bundo has been the main character of two best-selling books in 2018. Marlon Bundo’s Day in the Life of the Vice President was written by the Vice President’s daughter. It also made to one of the famous TV shows, “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.”
8. Mr. Bunny Rabbit
In 1955, Mr. Bunny Rabbit appeared as a puppet character on a show called “Captain Kangaroo.” The show has a record of running for about 30 years. This character had his trademark red-rimmed glasses, and he used to trick the captain into giving him carrots. The creator of this character was a puppeteer named Cosmo Allegretti.
9. Bean Bunny
Bean Bunny first appeared on TV in 1986. It starred in the show called The Tale of the Bunny Picnic and in the MuppeTelevision show called The Jim Henson Hour. Bean Bunny also made an appearance in the movie “The Muppet Christmas Carol.”
10. Buster Baxter
Buster Baxter is an upbeat character portraying a child’s role in a broken family where the parents are divorced. He is the best friend of Arthur Read from the famous TV show, “Arthur.”
11. Hoppy the Marvel Bunny
Appearing as the first-ever Marvel Bunny, Hoppy made his debut appearance in a spin-off of Captain Marvel named “Fawcett’s Funny Animals #1. Hoppy becomes Captain Marvel Bunny, a superhero, by uttering the magic word, Shazam!
Named after his habit of thumping his hind foot, this fictional character appeared for the first time in a Disney film called Bambi. He made several notable reappearances in numerous movies, including “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” and Lion King 1.
13. Captain Carrots
This rabbit is a DC Comics Superhero! Brain-child of Roy Thomas and Scott Shaw, Captain Carrots was originally conceptualized as the alter ego of Roger Rabbit. However, the name was changed to Rodney Rabbit due to legalities.
14. Benjamin Bunny
Penned down by Beatrix Potter in 1904, Benjamin Bunny appeared in The Tale of Benjamin Bunny – a sequel to the previously famous, “The Tale of the Peter Rabbit.” He is Peter’s cousin and his partner in adventuring through Mr. McGregor’s garden.
15. Honey Bunny
Honey Bunny is the cousin of the most favorite Bugs Bunny. She made her debut in 1953 in the Bugs Bunny’s Album.
Appearing in 1926 as a friend of Winnie-the-Pooh, Rabbit is a character in the book named “House at Pooh Corner,” written by A.A. Milne. The character lives with his friend and a young boy, Christopher Robin, in the Hundred Acre Wood.
17. March Hare
March Hare is probably one of the oldest fictional characters on the list. He appeared in 1865 in Alice’s Adventures in the Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. He is portrayed as a philosopher and has been an inspiration for numerous characters that were created afterward.
18. Bugs Bunny
Lastly, we leave with the most famous of all – the Bugs Bunny. He is instantly recognized by all and was the creation of Leon Schlesinger Productions, which later turned into Warner Bros. Cartoons. His catchphrase, “What’s up, Doc?” is probably one of the most chimed ones among his fans. He is a lover of carrots and has made appearances in Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts. He is also one of the official mascots for Warner Bros.
Animal Characters in Moral Tales: A Food for Thought
Animals are mostly used in depicting a moral story or a tale. This notion is being practiced since the old ages. Animals light up any situation, and they are loveable. Also, the pure and innocent connection between animals as pets and children is usually lost when they grow up. So, explaining a situation from an animal’s perspective is easier for the children to understand. Such stories and tales make up for an inspiring and intelligent analogy. This is why we can see hundreds of different fictional animal characters in moral stories.