The Velveteen Rabbit: Or, How Toys Become Real

The Velveteen Rabbit: Or, How Toys Become Real

4.5 176
by Margery Williams
     
 

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This beloved children's classic now includes illustrations by Don DailySee more details below

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Overview


This beloved children's classic now includes illustrations by Don Daily

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Lou Fancher sensitively adapts Margery Williams's The Velveteen Rabbit, illus. by Steve Johnson and Fancher, while maintaining the magic of the original. The inviting oil paintings ingeniously portray the boy's toy rabbit with button eyes, shaped like those of the real rabbits living in the nearby woods; as the stuffed rabbit is transformed by love, the artists seem to inject animation into its eyes, depicting its metamorphosis into a living, breathing being.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The beloved tale of the stuffed bunny who becomes real is complemented by delicate pastel drawings. Ages 3-7. (Feb.)
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
The story has been abridged, too much so, to fit this die cut board version. It isn't the same story and lacks the strong emotional pull of the original. Undoubtedly, it will raise a few questions and some concerns such as why did the boy's toys have to be thrown away? However, it is still one that kids who have a beloved stuffed animal can relate to. The soft pastel illustrations suit the short text.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4 Were it not for its jumpy design, this version would rank near the top of the half-dozen versions of The Velveteen Rabbit now available. The discomforting design may be accounted for by its translation from an electronic to a print medium (this version is based on a TV special narrated by Meryl Streep). Some illustrations are full page, others vignettes that bleed into the text; still other vignettes have hard edges; there are several isolated figures stuck on the white page; and here and there ovals, rather than rectangles, frame the images. No visual logic accounts for these design variations. Although there are several compelling illustrations, there are too many other scenes that just exist as if cut from larger cloth. The drawings themselves are well-crafted in a fuzzy range of colors that accentuates the warmer hues. Even the night is subfused with golden yellows. The effect is psychologically comforting, supporting the sentimental message of hope with its suggestion of death, resurrection and eternal life. Figures are rendered solidly and with anatomical conviction. Occasionally a pencil outline intrudes and breaks the dreamy magic's spell. Yet there can be no denying the magnetism of the individual characters. Kenneth Marantz, Art Education Department, Ohio State University, Columbus
Kirkus Reviews
In his note to the reader, Fancher (The Range Eternal, p. 1222, etc.) writes, "I’ve shortened the text to allow more room for the artwork," as an explanation for this abbreviated version of the beloved classic. Shortened indeed: Williams’s poetic passage introducing the Skin Horse has been reduced to: "The Skin Horse was old and wise, and he knew all about being Real." The rest is pared down to match, leaving a tale that does still—faintly—echo the original’s lyricism, but is less likely to lose the attention of, as Fancher puts it, "a wiggly two-year-old" being forced to listen to it. The art is, as promised, all full-paged and space-filling: quiet compositions in which the Velveteen Rabbit, the Boy, and other figures are large, soft-surfaced forms, viewed close-up, and from a child’s-eye level to enhance the feeling of intimacy. The tale’s more philosophical aspects will still elude most of the nursery school set, but sharing this summary may make some listeners more receptive to the Real story, when they’re old enough to appreciate it. On the other hand, perhaps they’ll think they’ve read it already. Why not just wait? (Picture book. 3-5)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780762429356
Publisher:
Running Press Book Publishers
Publication date:
01/29/2007
Pages:
28
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 6.40(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
2 - 6 Years

Read an Excerpt

From the Forward by Toni Raiten-D'Antonio, author of The Velveteen Principles


The Velveteen Rabbit, which first appeared in 1922, is full of the magic and playfulness that fill a child's world and are almost impossible to find in the land of adults.


But as many millions of readers have discovered, this book offers wisdom for readers of all ages. The story confronts some of the most essential questions we ever ask: Who am I? Do I have worth? What is life all about?


As they search for happiness, each one of Williams's characters seems to embody very basic human traits. The Rabbit is that part of us who is young at heart, and hopeful, and insecure, and afraid. The not-so-nice toys in the nursery represent excessive pride, superiority and insensitive competitiveness. Nana, the governess, is cold and too busy to notice much about others. And the Skin Horse stands for the kindness, wisdom and quiet integrity we all hope to acquire some day.


Yes, it is a story for children. But it is also meant for any person with an open mind and a receptive heart. As you read this wonderful book, the genuine humanity in its characters will become obvious. You will begin to consider how much you are like the little Rabbit, and how much you admire the Skin Horse. Most important, you will begin to understand that by holding true to your highest values, and honoring your own life's experience, you too can strive to be Real, just like the Horse and the Rabbit.


From the Velveteen Rabbit


THERE was once a velveteen rabbit, and in the beginning he was really splendid. He was fat and bunchy, as a rabbit should be; his coat wasspotted brown and white, he had real thread whiskers, and his ears were lined with pink sateen. On Christmas morning, when he sat wedged in the top of the Boy's stocking, with a sprig of holly between his paws, the effect was charming.


There were other things in the stocking, nuts and oranges and a toy engine, and chocolate almonds and a clockwork mouse, but the Rabbit was quite the best of all. For at least two hours the Boy loved him, and then Aunts and Uncles came to dinner, and there was a great rustling of tissue paper and unwrapping of parcels, and in the excitement of looking at all the new presents the Velveteen Rabbit was forgotten.


For a long time he lived in the toy cupboard or on the nursery floor, and no one thought very much about him. He was naturally shy, and being only made of velveteen, some of the more expensive toys quite snubbed him. The mechanical toys were very superior, and looked down upon every one else; they were full of modern ideas, and pretended they were real. The model boat, who had lived through two seasons and lost most of his paint, caught the tone from them and never missed an opportunity of referring to his rigging in technical terms. The Rabbit could not claim to be a model of anything, for he didn't know that real rabbits existed; he thought they were all stuffed with sawdust like himself, and he understood that sawdust was quite out-of-date and should never be mentioned in modern circles. Even Timothy, the jointed wooden lion, who was made by the disabled soldiers, and should have had broader views, put on airs and pretended he was connected with Government. Between them all the poor little Rabbit was made to feel himself very insignificant and commonplace, and the only person who was kind to him at all was the Skin Horse.


The Skin Horse had lived longer in the nursery than any of the others. He was so old that his brown coat was bald in patches and showed the seams underneath, and most of the hairs in his tail had been pulled out to string bead necklaces. He was wise, for he had seen a long succession of mechanical toys arrive to boast and swagger, and by-and-by break their mainsprings and pass away, and he knew that they were only toys, and would never turn into anything else. For nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand all about it.


"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"


"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."


"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.


"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."


"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"


"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often 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 your 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."

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