Monday, March 9, 2009
The Velveteen Rabbit
The Velveteen Rabbit
illustrated by William Nicholson
My Rating: 5 out 5
Genre: Fantasy/Classic Children's Book
The Velveteen Rabbit is a classic children's tale about a stuffed rabbit who once comes to live with a boy in his nursery one Christmas morning. At first, the rabbit is adored and admired by the boy, but is soon forgotten once more presents were unwrapped and there were new, more exciting things to play with, the rabbit became lost in the shuffle - eventually finding a home, forgotten in the nursery toy cupboard or floor. Rabbit eventually forms a kinship with the oldest toy in the nursery, Skin Horse. Skin Horse and Rabbit have a deep and meaningful conversation on what it means to be "real," and leaves Rabbit with yearning to become real. It is not until the boy's Nana cannot find the china dog the boy normally sleeps with that Rabbit is reintroduced into the boy's life. Nana grabs Rabbit out of the cupboard and tells the boy to sleep with it, "Here, take your old Bunny! He'll do to sleep with you!" From that night on, the boy and Rabbit are inseparable, thus beginning Rabbit's journey to becoming real.
The Velveteen Rabbit has been a favorite, and my personal favorite, children's classic since its publication in 1922. I love how Williams interweaves a lesson about individuality, and how being true to and loving yourself allows others to love you unconditionally. As Skin Horse says, "It doesn't happen all at once....you become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real, you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."
Children up to 3rd grade will adore the story of The Velveteen Rabbit, more than likely connecting with the surface level message of the book; loving a toy so much it becomes real in your own heart and mind. This is a wonderful fantasy story that delicately tells a tale of the wisdom of love and the magic that it can hold.