If you need an extra hour to hide the eggs on Easter morning and maybe get your kids into the holiday spirit as well, pop this animated bunny tale (a 1977 Rankin/Bass production) into your machine.

Fred Astaire narrates the story of a baby rabbit found in a creche (religious references are very oblique) in Kidville, a town run by children.

The rabbit befriends the unhappy 7-year-old king of a neighboring town where children (the king aside) are outlawed. With the help of his Kidville friends, the rabbit convinces the impossibly grim adult community that Easter is a time for fun and celebration.

The animation in Easter Bunny isn’t very sophisticated — it feels as if you’re watching through a 3-D viewer — and the songs, some sung by Astaire, are pretty bland (except for the wonderful ”Trainyard Blues”). The point of using Astaire is lost on me: We don’t get to see him dance, and though his singing voice has a special appeal for many people, on this tape it’s ordinary.

But there is an interesting and appealing subtext about children teaching grown-ups to reexperience joy, as the bunny and his pals convince the king’s miserable old aunt that life can be wonderful after all. B