Velveteen Rabbit, The: Or How Toys Became Real


Still as poignant today as it has ever been, Margery Williams' The Velveteen Rabbit is one of the best-loved children’s books of all time.

In the nursery, only the toys that are old and wise truly understand what it means to be Real. The Velveteen Rabbit, a newcomer to the nursery, asks one of the most knowledgeable toys, the Skin Horse, what being real means.

"Real isn't how you’re made," says the Skin Horse. "It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long,...

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Still as poignant today as it has ever been, Margery Williams' The Velveteen Rabbit is one of the best-loved children’s books of all time.

In the nursery, only the toys that are old and wise truly understand what it means to be Real. The Velveteen Rabbit, a newcomer to the nursery, asks one of the most knowledgeable toys, the Skin Horse, what being real means.

"Real isn't how you’re made," says 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. It doesn't happen all at once. You become..."

And so begins the Velveteen Rabbit’s journey towards becoming real—through the love of a child....

Thrown out when his owner becomes ill, a toy rabbit who has longed to be real receives his dearest wish.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Beverley Fahey
With so many versions of this classic story available, parents seeking to purchase just the right one have a difficult time. For those who find the original art by William Nicholson dated, this latest edition may be the perfect fit. The unabridged text relates the story of the ?fat and bunchy" stuffed rabbit with the soft brown and white coat that is a Christmas gift for a small boy and follows him on his journey to be loved and to be real. The outstanding feature here is the illustrations. Spirin's rich palette evokes a era long ago and he is as much at home depicting toys with hard edges and surfaces as he is with the soft round cherubic face of the boy or the plush texture of the rabbit. Alternating pages of full text are handsomely bordered and the crisp white pages add to the elegant design. The story may, by today's standards, seem a bit sentimental but it is nonetheless a perennial favorite. In lieu of the original, this is the one to own. Reviewer: Beverley Fahey
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.
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
K-Gr 3—"Weeks passed, and the little Rabbit grew very old and shabby...." Spirin's winsome portrait of the begrimed rabbit beautifully conveys the poignancy in this enduring tale of a much-loved toy. The fulsome story is handsomely assembled in a large square book with text pages framed in simple folk-art elements and occasional small rabbits. Often the text pages face a full-page watercolor view of the Boy, his Nana, the nursery, or the rabbits—the one that is velveteen and those that are real. There are also several sets of facing text pages, this being more than a picture book in the traditional definition. One double-page painting displays the splendid array of nursery toys among which the small stuffed rabbit finds himself at the outset, and toward the end there's a sweeping image of the fairy as she carries him off to the woods for his final transformation. Though the fanciful story may seem wordy by today's standards, it continues to resonate in recounting that ever-occurring incidence of a child's beloved toy that is finally abandoned. Spirin's handsome rendering, with a look that is at once old-fashioned and timeless, offers reading to be savored by viewers and listeners of many ages. A tribute to Margery Williams and how she came to write the story appears at the end.—Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Fancher's adaptation of Margery Williams's classic story sings with the magic of the original, while offering a shorter, more accessible version for modern children. The oil paintings have a luminous quality, the rich colors playing with dark and light to produce a timeless feel, perfectly complementing the text. The details of the boy's room, his toys, his Nana-all exist in an enchanted place somewhere between the past and the present. At last librarians have something to give parents who want to share the story of the toy that became real with their children, but are dismayed to find the original tale longer than they had remembered. An ideal adaptation of an old favorite.-Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Maryland School for the Deaf, Columbia Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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)
From the Publisher
"Well done. A good read-aloud for small groups of children."—School Library Journal.
Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
There is nothing groundbreaking in this lovely gift edition of a childhood classic, and that is just fine. Margery Williams’ fairy tale of a stuffed bunny made “Real” by the love of a child has retained its audience throughout the decades because it is such a beautiful and touching part of childhood; a book that is shared from generation to generation. Interestingly, in the ninety-two year old text, there remains one essential truism: mechanical toys may come and go, but the toys that are truly loved by most children are the “stuffies” that provide youngsters with security and warmth. This new edition of the book is crafted beautifully, with gilt touches on the cover and illuminations around the page numbers. The cloth cover will not take well to many library circulations. Also, the book plate on the title page may encourage youngsters to practice their printing skills instead of writing the name of a fortunate recipient of the book, as intended. The original illustrations by William Nicholson have been digitally remastered so that the nursery animals and wild rabbits are shown as they were originally drawn. This is not to disparage the Gennardy Spirin illustrations or the Michael Hague version of the book, but it is lovely to see the soft-focus, primary colored double paged spreads from the original. The end papers are festooned with yellow, blue, and white bunnies of both the live and stuffed varieties. The language of the text is as beautiful and meaningful as always with no alterations. It is worth noting that the concept of burning a child’s toys after an illness may be disturbing to little ones. Read aloud from this classic, then continue on to DiCamillo’s The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane for tales of brave nursery rabbits that embark on unexpected adventures. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross; Ages 5 to 10.
From Barnes & Noble
In this parable about rebirth and the mysterious power of love, the magic of a young boy's love changes a beloved toy bunny into a real live rabbit. In this new edition, Donna Green's charming watercolor illustrations help to animate Margery Williams' timeless children's classic.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761458487
  • Publisher: Amazon Childrens Publishing
  • Publication date: 2/1/2011
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 431,282
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.60 (w) x 10.70 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Margery Williams, an English-American author who lived in Pennsylvania, achieved fame at age forty-one with the 1922 publication of The Velveteen Rabbit, an instant classic. She wrote a number of other books, including Winterbound, a runner-up for the 1937 Newbery Medal. Married with two children, she died in 1944 at the age of sixty-three.
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Read an Excerpt

"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 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."

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