Dorothy Meserve Kunhardt (1901–1979) was an American author of books for small children and is best known for Pat the Bunny (1940), one of the all-time best-selling children’s books in the United States. Her first book, Junket Is Nice, was a success when it appeared in 1933 and was followed by Now Open the Box (forthcoming from The New York Review Children’s Collection), Lucky Mrs. Ticklefeather, Brave Mr. Buckingham, and Tiny Animal Stories. Kunhardt published nearly fifty books, including several nonfiction works for adults about Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War (her father amassed a legendary collection of Civil War–era photographs and memorabilia). Several years after her death, Philip B. Kunhardt Jr. remembered his mother’s boundless curiosity and appreciation for the way young people observe the world, writing in The New York Times that “for Dorothy Kunhardt a children’s book was nothing more or less than a way to talk to children.”
Of course everyone in the circus loves Peewee the dog—he is cute and so tiny! But what happens when little Peetwee stops being so little? Dorothy Kunhardt, author of Pat the Bunny, addresses children’s fears with wonderfully reassuring directness even while making magic out of the simplest things.
Pat the Bunny author Dorothy Kunhardt’s first book is as simple and lovable as the ones for which she is most famous. No one can guess what the old man eating his bowl of junket (a kind of custard) can possibly be thinking. The speculation becomes increasingly absurd until a little boy bicycles up and gets it right on his first try.