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The Velveteen Rabbit (1922)

by Margery Williams

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
13,559222419 (4.23)171
By the time the Velveteen Rabbit is dirty, worn out, and about to be burned, he has almost given up hope of ever finding the magic called Real.

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» See also 171 mentions

English (237)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  All languages (239)
Showing 1-5 of 237 (next | show all)
Meanwhile, back in my umpteenth childhood, another book I read for the first time...

This beautiful, classic children's story about a boy and his toy rabbit, who becomes Real, is sweet, sad, and magical. ( )
  Steven1958 | Aug 23, 2023 |
#564 in our old book database. Not rated. Jan. 19, 1990. ( )
  villemezbrown | May 9, 2023 |
#564 in our old book database. Not rated. Jan. 19, 1990.

I recall that I didn't much like this book the first time I read it decades ago, but I decided to give it another go when the 100th Anniversary edition turned up on NPR's list of best children's books of 2022 that I'm reading as one of my 2023 goals.

The art for this edition is by Erin Stead, and overall I do prefer her style over the art by William Nicholson in the edition that my family owns, but the muted colors and droopy characters radiate moroseness from the get-go and throughout the tale. And while her rabbit is fine, as drawn it doesn't really match the description in the text as to the stuffed animal's form and really doesn't look much different from its first appearance to its supposedly worn look near the end of the story.

The story and its mythology really irritate me, and I ranted to my wife for quite awhile last night after we read the book together. Here's a taste of it. For starters, I'm torn between the Skin Horse being a false prophet of a faux religion of Real created to distract from the actual revelations of the tale's end, or the Skin Horse being John the Baptist to the Velveteen Rabbit's Christ who is risen again to immortality and finally opening the way for all toys to Heaven on Earth. And if there are two levels of Real, are there more? Say, fifteen, perhaps, as in Scientology? Will the Velveteen Rabbit continue to transcend as he tires of immortality on Earth? Will watching all the real rabbits in his life die every nine years as he goes on and on without the sweet release of death push him to a new epiphany of Real (Level 3)? Or will another random fairy/angel just pop up in time to move the story/pilgrimage along? Meanwhile, what about China Dog, the boy's first beloved toy? Did he achieve either level of Real or is he stuck in some limbo? What sins weigh down the soul of the Skin Horse that he is denied the second level of Real? What inherent evil of the modern age prevents mechanical toys from being able to enter the realm of Real? Is Williams a Luddite or simply unable to progress due to crippling obsession with nostalgia?

Or is this all just an attempt to create a parent cover story for throwing away kids' toys? The family pet goes off to live on "a farm in the country" and all the missing toys are now frolicking in the forest with the real animals.

Anyhow, I still don't like this book.

(Another project! I'm trying to read all the picture books and graphic novels on the kids section of NPR's Books We Love 2022.) ( )
  villemezbrown | May 9, 2023 |
My favorite children's book of all time. Read this to your kids if they haven't yet, or read it yourself if you haven't yet, but read it. This peculiar tale deserves more attention, as it so profound and meaningful that a kid will appreciate its atmosphere and an adult will appreciate its deeper meaning. ( )
  Councillor3004 | Sep 1, 2022 |
A classic that has lasted for generations that touches on what is most important ..what makes something/someone "real" So many messages in a beautiful story of a toy rabbit that all ages can ponder.
  lmannsch | Jul 17, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 237 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (64 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Margery Williamsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Adams, MichaelIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Allsopp, SophieIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Angel, MarieIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Atkinson, AllenIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barone, VirginiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Benitez, PaulaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Berg, MariaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blake, RobertIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bond, JillyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chagot, AdolpheTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chandler, JeanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cheshire, MarcJacket designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cott, Gale VanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Culbertson, RogerIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
DeLucia, CarloDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
East, JacquelineIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Encarnacion, LizEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Félix, MoniqueIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fisher, JeffIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grafton, Carol BelangerBook and cover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Graham, FlorenceIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Green, DonnaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Green, MichaelIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hague, MichaelIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hickman, Estella L.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ho, TienIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hughes, ShirleyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jorgensen, DavidIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kaneko, YukikoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Keszeg ÁgnesIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kliros, TheaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Krupinski, LorettaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
László NoémiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Llewhellin, GarethIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lombardi, KristineNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
MacCombie, TuriIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Massini, SarahIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mathis, Melissa BayIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miles, Elizabeth J.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mio, JamesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nash, CoreyForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nicholson, WiliamIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nissinen, AilaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Officer, RobynIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parker-Naples, AnnaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Plume, IlseIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Raiten-D'Antonio, ToniForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Santore, CharlesIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schindler, S.D.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sharp, GarthIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Spirin, GennadyIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stevenson, JulietNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Strasser Olson, MarilynnAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Streep, MerylNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sutton, JudithIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Talbot, JimIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thompson, PatIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Todd, JustinIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Toren, SuzanneNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Verdon, GwenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vogdes, LizIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Waldman, NeilIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
West, SamuelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, KatherineIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, NicholsonIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
To Francesco Bianco from The Velveteen Rabbit
For Mr. Mike Foye - E.S. [Erin Stead, 100th Anniversery Edition]
First words
There was once a velveteen rabbit, and in the beginning he was really splendid.
When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This is the original full-length story. Do not combine with abridged or adapted versions of the book.
Publisher's editors
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

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Wikipedia in English (1)

By the time the Velveteen Rabbit is dirty, worn out, and about to be burned, he has almost given up hope of ever finding the magic called Real.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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