Rabbits in waistcoats
A typical children's story, especially from British children's literature, is full of mice wearing dresses and throwing parties, while still having to avoid cats. The genre may also involves gentle tales of animal villages from a simpler and more innocent time, with mild adventure, though many of the more mature members of the genre can be downright dark and frightening.
"Rabbits in Waistcoats" stories are amongst the most popular of children's books:
- Wind in the Willows
- The Adventures of Peter Rabbit
- Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
- Blackberry Farm
- Fern Hollow
- Most Brer Rabbit tales
- Fantastic Mr. Fox
- The Welkin Weasels
- Little Bear
Many other similar books may be lumped into this sort of category as well, even while not fitting tightly to definition; in Watership Down and Tales of the Green Forest, the animals are not quite anthropomorphic enough; in Winnie the Pooh, the animals are primarily plushies, with a few exceptions; and in Alice in Wonderland, the animals are almost never main characters.
Usually, the genre features mice, rabbits, squirrels and other herbivorous animals, with foxes and weasels playing key villains. British stories feature local species like stoats, water voles and hedgehogs, while ones written in North America have more skunks, raccoons and opposums.
The wide prevalence of this style of story in children's literature contributes to misunderstandings of furry fandom and its relation both to pedophilia and bestiality. Furry fans of this sort of story are frequently at odds with the more sexualized aspects of the fandom; many chose to play this sort of character innocently in online environments only to discover that some people find small talking animals sexually exciting. Others are macrophiles or microphiles and have chosen these small characters, often mice, for this very reason. A third group may be interested in sexual aspects of civilized creatures, but only with similarly styled characters.
The term "Rabbits in Waistcoats" may refer to the sort of characters found in Beatrix Potter stories, though the term "waistcoat" was never used in one; Peter Rabbit, for example, wore a bright blue jacket. The idea of a rabbit in a waistcoat probably comes from the pregnantly imaginative description of the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland:
- "So [Alice] was considering in her own mind (as well as she could, for the hot day made her feel very sleepy and stupid), whether the pleasure of making a daisy-chain would be worth the trouble of getting up and picking the daisies, when suddenly a White Rabbit with pink eyes ran close by her.
- There was nothing so very remarkable in that; nor did Alice think it so very much out of the way to hear the Rabbit say to itself, `Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be late!' (when she thought it over afterwards, it occurred to her that she ought to have wondered at this, but at the time it all seemed quite natural); but when the Rabbit actually took a watch out of its waistcoat-pocket, and looked at it, and then hurried on, Alice started to her feet, for it flashed across her mind that she had never before seen a rabbit with either a waistcoat-pocket, or a watch to take out of it, and burning with curiosity, she ran across the field after it, and fortunately was just in time to see it pop down a large rabbit-hole under the hedge."