THROWBACK THURSDAY: THE VELVETEEN RABBIT

THE VELVETEEN RABBIT

1922  |  WRITTEN BY MARGERY WILLIAMS  |  ILLUSTRATED BY WILLIAM NICHOLSON

Velveteen (Full)

I’d never read The Velveteen Rabbit; or, How Toys Become Real as a kid; at least, not that I can remember. I read it for the first time while my partner, Becca, was pregnant with our daughter. I had picked up a nice old copy at a used bookstore in Toronto in anticipation and sat down with it one day just to see what the big deal was.

It’s a stunning book. It’s funny, endearing, heart-breaking. The characters are brilliant, and the prose is fluid and natural; for all this book will touch your heart, it is not flowery or cheap. The illustrations are wonderful and evocative.

Once you are real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.

We don’t need to get into what the book is about, except to say it’s about a toy rabbit who wants to be real. If you’ve read it you remember it, and if you haven’t you should, kid or not.

The Velveteen Rabbit was published in 1922 by Heinemann, now a publisher of educational materials; it currently resides in the public domain. It was Margery Williams’ first children’s book.

–J.H.


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