Marshmallow, “An Unexpected Friend”

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Introducing Our Featured Friend: Marshmallow by Clare Turlay Newberry

I admit that I bought this book for our family for one main reason; we have an albino bunny named Marshmallow! (We named her before finding the book.) However, we’ve come to like this story for much more than just its title.

Marshmallow is a wonderful story of an unexpected friendship. Oliver, the apartment cat owned by Miss Tilly, has his small world interrupted when Miss Tilly brings home a little fluffy bunny. The only bunny Oliver had seen before was a stuffed Easter bunny. When the two encountered each other, Oliver felt afraid and Marshmallow felt unhappy and lonely.

When Miss Tilly caught Oliver in the pouncing position, she ended the close proximity of her two pets. The cat and bunny were separated . . . until one day when Miss Tilly stayed out longer than usual. Oliver managed to maneuver the doorknob of his room and when the door opened, Oliver found and watched Marshmallow carefully. However, when he was deciding if he should pounce, “Marshmallow scampered joyfully up to him and kissed him on the nose!” Thus began an unexpected friendship between the cat and bunny. Miss Tilly let them remain together as Oliver adopted Marshmallow and cuddled with and cared for him.

One of our favorite parts of the book is the poems that are throughout the story:

A Poem in Praise of Rabbits

“A bunny is a quiet pet,
A bunny is the best thing yet,
A bunny never makes a sound,
A bunny’s nice to have around.

Puppies whimper, bark and growl;
Kittens mew and tomcats yowl;
Birdies twitter, chirp and tweet;
Moo-cows moo, and lampkins bleat;

Some creatures bellow, others bray;
Some hoot, or honk, or yap, or neigh;
Most creatures make annoying noises,
Even little girls and boyses.

A bunny, though, is never heard,
He simply never says a word.
A bunny’s a delightful habit,
No home’s complete without a rabbit.”

Inviting You to Become FRIENDS with Marshmallow:
Select a few of the suggested questions or activities to do with your children or class.

Feel, Relate, Imagine, Explore, Navigate, Develop, Share

F- When have you felt lonely or afraid when meeting new people?
R– Do you relate more to Oliver feeling scared or to Marshmallow feeling lonely when you experience something new?
I- Imagine you could have any two pets live together happily in your home (even if they are normally predator/prey). Which two would you pick and why?
E- “As Oliver never went out, he did not know that the world was full of other animals.” What unfamiliar place would you like to explore?
N- Draw a picture of Oliver navigating a route to get from his room to Marshmallow’s room while Miss Tilly was out of the apartment.
D- Develop a rhyming poem about a bunny rabbit or your own pet.
S- Encourage your children or students to share their friendship with someone they may not normally befriend. They may find a wonderful, unexpected friend!

You can also become FRIENDS with Marshmallow by getting your own bunny, (but you may want to read the book first as she includes one more poem about a few bunny flaws)! 🙂

“Brighten your home with a bunny.
He’s fat, he’s frisky, he’s funny.
He’s soft, he’s downy,
He’s cute, he’s clown-y,
Oh, brighten your home with a bunny!”

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