Another childhood book I found in a box! When I was a girl a family friend worked in the schools and when the library discarded old books he brought them to the house and I had first pick. They were truly battered and worn, but I did not care a bit.
I loved this book. Perhaps for the illustrations as much as anything. I don't know that I truly made it's message a part of my life, for I have spent a lot of time over the years wishing I had what someone else had.
White Rabbit is well beloved by his mother and the neighborhood denizens, but every neighbor he meets has some attribute he wishes he had--the squirrel's bushy tail, the porcupine's back full of bristles, the duck's red rubbers. Mr Ground Hog tells White Rabbit about a wishing well, and off he hops to find it. That is when he sees a red bird, and wishes again, this time for red wings.
Well, he gets red wings. Quite excited, White Rabbit takes off to show his friends.
But no one recognizes him. (This reminds me of Little Galoshes, a Golden Book about a farm boy who always wears his galoshes, and when one day he forgets them the farm animals don't recognize him). Even White Rabbit's mother rejects him, and he is forced to sleep in a hole in a tree that is full of burrs.
Luckily, Mr Ground Hog advises White Rabbit to return to the wishing well and wish the wings off again. It works, and White Rabbit is accepted by his mother and friends.
These old stories for children were vehicles for teaching life lessons and seem didactic by today's sensibilities. Modern books for children are also teaching moments, but use real life experiences instead of cute fluffy animals.
I kinda like the fluffy animals myself.