January 31, 2010
The Little Rabbit Who Wanted Red Wings!

‘Allo ‘allo, Crayon readers! We’re back again with new content — and it hasn’t even been a month since the last update. How awesome is that?!

First, a quickie — Dusty Plastic HELLside #12, which features Adora from “She-Ra: Princess of Power” facing off against Chun-Li of the Street Fighter series. More on Adora in a bit.

The more substantial offering in today’s update is a summary review of The Little Rabbit Who Wanted Red Wings — a book I’ve despised as long as I can remember. Admittedly, I don’t really remember it before high school (I rediscovered it when perusing the selections on the bookshelf in my room), but still. This is also a piece that is somewhat personal, as I not only describe an incident from my own life but even include a relevant photo of myself. I’m not doing any of this for sympathy, mind you — so please try not to offer your condolences or pity, though I welcome other responses and insights regarding today’s features — but I did want to share my own similar yet decidedly less encouraging experience in order to better convey just how wrong the events of this story are. I think we can all agree that The Little Rabbit Who Wanted Red Wings has a terrible message and probably shouldn’t be shared with impressionable young minds in any context.

And back to Adora! The comic here is an extra photo from the shoot I did for my review of the figure at Articulated Discussion, so please check that out and leave a comment over there if you like. The review’s not going over so well with some AD readers, as it’s quite negative and contains a good amount of cursing (there are only 15 swear words in the 2000-word article, but even so), but I think readers familiar with some of my work over here might find it to be entertaining. If nothing else, it’s given me material for a running gag involving Hordak… and a cool idea for a custom if I ever end up with a bunch of fodder from female figures. Oh, I also did last week’s Bootleg Tuesday entry, so go there to marvel at the horror of bootleg toys based on a great late-90s cartoon show.

That’ll do it for this update, then! Until next time —

-posted by Wes | 2:42 am | Comments (29)
  • Anonymous says:

    Not to ruin anyone’s childhood memories of this, from what i can tell horrible book about conforming to your parents wishes, nor to drag this down to the lowest common denominator…. but red wings is slang for going down on a girl with her period… the freudian implications are mind boggling.

  • Mickelodeon says:

    That’s the first thing I thought of when I saw the title. Eww.

  • Matto says:

    Wow. What a disgusting children’s book. It makes me feel dirty inside.

  • greybob says:

    You don’t know horrific plastic surgery stories until you’ve seen former Korean pop-sensation and plastic surgeon addict Hang Mioku. Google for pictures if you dare: it’s certainly not for the squeamish.

    • Wes says:


      You warned me, but I did not listen. Why did I not listen?!?!? I shall heed your warnings forevermore.

      Thanks for commenting, by the way! 🙂

      • greybob says:

        You’re welcome! Hope it don’t give you nightmares.

        Good article, by the way. Usually I find unintentional innuendo and questionable morals in children’s books hilarious, but in this case that’s just a horrible message to be telling kids. Also, it seems to be saying that personal exploration and the pursuit of self-fulfillment is wrong. Just be a good little rabbit like all the others! You don’t need to be an individual to be loved, but if you’re not like everyone else we’ll slam the door in your face!

        The Twilight saga also seems to be sending some bloody disgusting messages to young girls.

        • Wes says:

          Yeah, from what I’ve read the messages in the Twilight series are pretty awful. It’s bad enough that Bella’s dating a much older man, but then she goes and makes him her world and has his baby at age 19? What about an education or a career?!

          But of course vampires don’t need those things.

          • Leah says:

            Hmmm… can we hope for an article about the awfulness that is Twilight in the near future? Besides the one about the action figure, I mean.

    • SusO says:

      ergh…. i think that trumps the cat with no face ‘chase no face’.

  • Brian says:

    hey wes.. – enjoyed the new piece.. – the story about your mother i found particularly unsettling and upsetting.. – that really sucks, man.. – i thought the blue hair looked pretty rad.. – i was going to say it reminded me of Stu from Rugrats but his was more purplish..

  • RADIX says:

    Children’s books like these make me a sad stick. (So does the way your mom reacted to your blue hair)

    As I read your article, I wondered how the book would read if I were the author. His mother, instead of callously abandoning him, would simply ask him WHY he wished for red wings, when she thought he was fine the way he was; the others would advise him not to go any further than red wings the next time he had body issues. It would end with the Little Rabbit learning to come to terms with his own decisions and appearance (with some help from Mr. Groundhog, perhaps?), and keeping the damn wings.

    Of course, that version doesn’t allow for the shallow woodland twits to get their comeuppance. ~RADIX

    • greybob says:

      If I was in charge of telling this story, it would go like this: the rabbit gets what he originally wanted. He wishes for a squirrel tail, and duck feet, and he’d keeping wishing for more and more parts of other animals until he was completely unrecognizable. Then it would MAKE SENSE for the mom to not recognize him and slam the door in his face. Heck, if I saw some sort of chimeric abomination I’d slam the door in any case.

      But no, they had to give him red wings that don’t disfigure him in any way and are completely pimpin’. It makes me wonder if they went with red wings just so they could sneak a disturbing double entendre into the title. D:

  • DrNightmare says:

    How did I know your story would end with the rabbit becoming a sexy goth? Hah!

    Sexy tasty goth bunny stew, mmmm.

    I’d share some stories about my own adversities, but I’m sure it’s nothing you haven’t already experienced or could imagine, Wes, lol. And I add “imagine” because you know I’d most likely make them up. 😛

  • L says:

    First look at the date this book was published. You cannot use modern day slang and meanings to interpret this treasured book which says, “be happy with who you are.’ Additionally, your review would have been of more literary value had you not interspersed it with profanity.

  • HeatherT says:

    Hey, you nailed it. As a kid who grew up with the ORIGINAL version, as a small kid, it set oddly with me too. So hey, you are a kid. You want to experiment. You don’t like the status quo. And ALL of your elders reject you. The little rabbit didn’t seem to have peers, other kids? During the ’70s, some (many) kids wanted “long hair”. The parents disowned them. And girls who got pierced ears. It is better now, really! Blue hair, in those days … sheesh. Some sarcastic remarks would be the least of it.

    Another kids book that set oddly with me was “The Giving Tree” and “It’s a wonderful life”. In both cases, the protagonist seems to be oddly a victim. Sheesh, the choice is not between being “victim” or “oppressor” … a truly intelligent protagonist would change the whole paradigm, in my novel.

    I see your version turns it around big time: hey, come back as a vampire and take revenge! I can see the appeal. My red-winged rabbit though, would come back as hero, save the day, teach the other rabbits to fly, to be a little braver than the animals that slam the door just because someone else is slightly different than you expect.

    Another meme that strikes me oddly these days is how *albino* the animals are. I mean, not just “white” but they have the red eyes. Red eyes, in nature, mean “I cannot see well”. And the red eyes are even BIGGER in the newer version. Albino animals don’t survive well, they are prey, don’t blend into the environment and really prey to sun damage too. Yet the animals I grew up seeing in kids books … were albino. Not sure what all that says: that we treasure pampered animals that don’t know how to survive on their own?

    BTW, with my own kids, the rule of the house is “No Permanent Damage” (aka Penn and Teller). Don’t do anything that will land you in the hospital or jail. Hair color, music choice, etc. are not likely to kill you or get arrested. Blue hair: kinda cute! Albeit a lot of work to maintain.

  • Jean says:

    OK, so I looked this book up to read to my granddaughter because it was my favorite book as a child. Somehow I think that everyone is way overthinking this simple tale that is trying to help you understand that it is okay to just be you – that in being you, rather than imitating somebody else, you will ultimately find happiness! You know, the grass is always greener on the other side theory – once you get there the same holds true – the grass is greener on the other side (which is the side from which you just came). The rabbit didn’t have a deep conviction that he wasn’t a rabbit or that he was somehow deficient as a rabbit. He was just like a kid in a candy shop (or a toy store) wanting everything that he saw. He changed what he wanted with every turn of the page! He ends up happy in the end of the story — not with a deep psychological complex!

  • Art says:

    I knew that book was creepy when I read it in the early 1950’s down in our semi-finished basement in Queens, NY. It was pretty old then so I don’t know what edition it was. I remember thinking that it was bad to want to be something more than what other people told you that you are, and that I would be abandoned and ridiculed if I tried. No wonder it took me so long to “spread my wings.”

  • Mom of 3 says:

    In my Kindergarden, we not only read the book, we did the musical!! Yes, there are songs to go with the story. I remember it to this day, 45 years ago! I played the friggin’ Mother rabbit!!!!

    Ii was reading an article about how some addictions/mental illness are an escape from self – desperate hope to magically become someone else. The memory of this play came up and I searched it on google. Found your site. Wow!

    My young teenagers have not dyed their hair blue yet, but I hope I will handle it better than your Mom did. You looked great!

    Your site is amazing and I only hope that your Mom is stinkin’ proud of you now! You have made it through childhood with your creativity intact. Well done!

    I am laughing my ass off about the red wing slang comments…..OMG!

    Wishing you much success and happiness……..

  • Jay Young says:

    This book irritated the hell out of me as a small child. Somewhere along the way I came across an article where the author claimed it was actually an African-American folktale. If so, what you’re looking at is a cautionary tale told to young black children not to try to better themselves or stand out in any way or even — yeah, dye their hair blue. Yours looked fantastic, btw.

  • Alecia says:

    I think that you’ve given the book far more depth than it actually has. It always seemed to me to be a fairly superficial story whose entire point was, “Don’t try to make yourself into others, or you will lose who you are”. This is depicted in showing him wanting the key attributes of other animals and then being unrecognizable when he gains them. It’s really no more than that.

    The Scorpion and the Frog wasn’t written with deep development either. It’s just a fable to say that if you are vicious, you can’t change it, even if it will destroy you. Vicious is something that people like Ted Bundy and Josef Mengele — not the mean kid down the block. However, being an allegory, you can use it for whatever comparison you want.

    Your blue hair looked awesome, and no one has the right to talk to anyone like that, especially over something as superficial as their hair. I went through that same issue in high school. I know how difficult it can be.

    I was just scanning through to see what someone had to say that much about such a simple book, but I stopped at the beginning and knew I wanted to comment. Why? “Christian homophobe”. It’s funny, with all the talk about judging others that you would almost start out with a judgment. Why not say, “a homophobe”? There are many homophobes that are not Christian and many Christians that are not homophobes. By specifying “a Christian homophobe”, you’re passing a judgment of your own. If you think that I’m making too much of it, think about the fact that this is a blow by blow breakdown of a short children’s tale, with moral interpretation.

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