The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams Bianco
Published by New Frontier Publishing
On Christmas morning, Boy is given many presents, but the Velveteen Rabbit is the most splendid. For a few moments anyway. The excitement of Christmas continues and the Rabbit is long forgotten, stored in a cupboard.
Snubbed by the other toys, the only one who befriends him is the Skin Horse, who’s lived the longest in the nursery, and is wiser than them all.
The Velveteen Rabbit longs to be real, and he learns that only happens when a child really loves you. Skin Horse reminds him however, that by the time you are real, you won’t be clean and new, but it won’t matter.
By pure chance, Rabbit gets his chance, when Nana finds him in the cupboard and gives him to Boy. Boy and Rabbit become inseparable and eventually Rabbit is worn and dirty and his fur rubbed off. He realises he’s become Real, when Boy declares it, but one night he’s accidentally left in the garden and encounters some rabbits. They ask if he can jump and dance. Rabbit is not able, as his legs sit forward. They challenge him that he isn’t even real. Rabbit assures him he is, as the Boy said so.
After his encounter with the rabbit’s, he is re-united with Boy, who’s very sick. Nana says that because of Boy’s fever everything must go. Left outside in a bag for disposal, Rabbit hops along sadly and a tear trickles onto a mysterious flower, a Real tear.
The flower blossoms and out steps a fairy. She tells him she takes care of all the play things and when they are old and worn, she comes to make them Real.
Rabbit gets his wish, and one day in the garden, as he’s hopping along with his new rabbit friends, he encounters Boy, who thinks he looks just like his old bunny.
What a magical tale, I was entranced the whole way. I have a memory of this story, but it wasn’t until I got to the end pages, I realised it was originally written in 1922. As we travel along the journey with Rabbit, we are swept up in his joy and sorrow on the path to becoming real. I loved the blurring of the lines between pretend and reality, as so many children wonder if their toys are really real.
The illustrations are exquisite, with pastel colours giving Rabbit a gentle and lovable appearance. The story is timeless, a classic and I believe children aged 4-6 will be entranced by this new version.
CKT Book Reviewer
Author: Margery Williams Bianco
Illustrator: Helene Magisson
Title: The Velveteen Rabbit
Publisher: New Frontier Publishing
Published: March 2015