Every weekend, as she prepared for the Sunday Farmers Market at Vandenberg Village, lavender farmer Melissa Broughton filled her home with bundles of the soft-smelling flower. Her pet rabbit Amos could never resist. After nibbling his fill, Amos would take a long, leisurely nap, lulled to bed by the natural sleep aid. “He would just bonk out,” laughed Broughton. Their ritual went on for years, until little Amos in his old age hopped into that giant lavender field in the sky.
Inspired by his charm and memory, Broughton ― already a published author ― wrote the miniature Holland Lop as the main character of her new children’s book, Sleepy Bunny: The Bunny Who Loved Lavender, illustrated by area artist Mary Harrison. Beyond being a fun and easy read for kids, it’s a gentle encouragement to enjoy naptime, often the source of fierce battles between parent and child. “Parents are excited about a story that helps their kiddos think about naps in a good way,” explained Broughton, who’s already received positive feedback from her younger audience. “Kids are always the best critics,” she said. “They’ll always tell you what they really think.” Sold separately are lavender-scented, rabbit-shaped sachets knitted by a local maker of eye pillows.
The book, out in time for Easter, is available at Chaucer’s Books, The Book Den, and The Bookstore in Lompoc, and on March 11, 2-4 p.m., Broughton will host a signing at Chaucer’s (3321 State St.). She’ll be joined by a VIP guest named Milo. “Hint,” she said, “he’s very fluffy with big feet.”