Rabbit is a fictional yellow anthropomorphic rabbit character from the Disney Winnie-the-Pooh cartoons. In the fictional world of the book series and cartoons Winnie-the-Pooh, Rabbit happens to be a good friend of Winnie-the-Pooh. He is always practical and keeps his friends on their toes, although they sometimes raise his ire unintentionally.
Role in the books
The first appearance of Rabbit is in chapter II in the Winnie-the-Pooh book by A. A. Milne. He also appears in chapters VII, VIII, IX and X of that book, as well as in chapters III, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, and X in The House at Pooh Corner.
Unlike most of the cast in the books, who are based on stuffed animals owned by Christopher Robin Milne, the illustrations of Rabbit look more like a living animal than a stuffed one. This idea is also supported by Rabbit's own comment to Owl, "You and I have brains. The others have fluff." In Ernest H. Shepard's illustrations, Rabbit appears like a typical, long-eared rabbit, except that he walks on two legs and uses his front paws as hands. The top of his head reaches about to Pooh's nose; his ears, when pointed straight up, reach to just above Pooh's head. While loyal to the friends he knows, Rabbit shows a certain reluctance to welcome newcomers, as evidenced by his initial negative reaction to the arrival of Kanga and Roo in the first book, and to Tigger in the second book. Nonetheless, he warms up to all of them in time.
Rabbit likes to take charge and come up with elaborate plans, such as the one to scare Kanga by hiding Roo, and the one to "unbounce" Tigger. He is also an organizer, as in the case of the Search for Small. As detailed as his plans are, they often miss certain key points, and thus go wrong in one way or another.
Rabbit tends to include Pooh and Piglet in his plans, and he goes to Owl when there is "thinking to be done". He sees his relationship to Christopher Robin as being the one that Christopher depends on. Rabbit also has good relationships with the minor animals in the forest, who are usually referred to as his "friends-and-relations". Several are mentioned by name, including a wasp called Small, a beetle named Alexander Beetle, another member of the beetle family named Henry Rush, and three unspecified creatures called Smallest-of-All, Late, and Early. According to the illustrations of the book, his other friends-and-relations include other rabbits, a squirrel, a hedgehog, some mice, and insects. At one point, Rabbit estimates that he would need "seventeen pockets" if he were going to carry all his family about with him; whether that number refers just to his relatives or to the friends-and-relations as a group is unknown, if it had any basis at all.
Rabbit lives in a house in the north central part of the Hundred Acre Wood, between the sandy pit where Roo plays and the area where his friends-and-relations live.
Shirley Temple's Storybook
Rabbit is played by Frank Sullivan and Tom Kenny.
In Disney adaptations
Rabbit appears in most Disney Winnie the Pooh cartoons. He is usually a normal individual, but played the role of the main antagonist in two features, Winnie-the-Pooh and Tigger Too and Pooh's Heffalump Movie. He sang a total of two songs which could be considered "villain songs," namely "If It Says So" in Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin, and "The Horridly Hazardous Heffalumps" in Pooh's Heffalump Movie.
As an addition to his character, he likes his garden and does whatever he can to protect it from other animals such as bugs and crows. He gets cross and grumpy when they try to steal his vegetables, especially carrots. In one episode, he even goes so far as to build a fortress around his garden, including a moat and booby traps. Tigger, Pooh and Piglet come to see him, and he tells them to go away and leave him alone. The trio leaves him to his gardening, at which point he realizes he forgot to add a door to his fortress, and he is stuck inside.
In one episode of The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh he adopts a bluebird named Kessie that he rescued from a snowstorm.
The original voice of Rabbit in the Disney films was Junius Matthews. After his death, Will Ryan, Ray Erlenborn, and later Ken Sansom replaced him. Tom Kenny provides his voice in the new movie.
As of 2004, Rabbit now appears at Walt Disney World in Vista, FL and Disneyland in Anaheim, CA for meet and greets.