There is something special about the relationships that children form with their toys and never has a book highlighted this better than The Velveteen Rabbit. Originally published in 1922 and written by Margery Williams it has now been republished by Nosy Crow and illustrated by Sarah Massini.
This classic tale tells of a new rabbit toy given to a boy at Christmas. At first the boy overlooks him until one night he needs a toy to take to bed, the rabbit is chosen and a beautiful friendship begins. The rabbit hears about Nursery Magic from a wise old toy horse who utters that well known line:
“When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
A faithful companion to the little boy, the rabbit sets his sights on becoming real. And one night, after the boy defends him to his nanny who calls the rabbit a toy – “He isn’t a toy. He’s REAL!” – the little velveteen rabbit is convinced it is true. He is as pleased as punch, his dreams have come true, he is loved enough and is now real. Or is he?
I read this book to my 4 year old (who incidentally has a favourite toy that is a rabbit) and he was completely taken with the magic of the story. He is just at the right age when his toys are as much his friends as they are his toys. His own toys are as tatty from love as the Velveteen Rabbit and I think he honestly believes that they are real. I won’t spoil the ending if you aren’t familiar with the story but it is endearing, magical. When we got to it my son smiled and let out a sigh and I was struck with this wonderful feeling knowing he had been truly captured by this timeless story.
The illustrations by Sarah Massini have a beautiful old-world charm to them, they compliment this wonderful tale perfectly. Beautifully detailed backgrounds in soft colours and with a fabulous use of light and shadows. Whole page illustrations draw you into the story and capture the love between the boy and his rabbit.
A re-work of a classic can be a tricky thing to manage but what I love about this one is it has used the original text, complete and unabridged. The original story by Margery Williams is a well loved classic for a very good reason and I’m so glad that it is here in its entirety for a whole new generation to fall in love with.
Nosy Crow have really done this story justice with an absolutely beautifully produced book. Printed on high quality, uncoated Munken paper and with a foiled cloth binding and foiled cover this book is a pleasure to hold and to read.
The Velveteen Rabbit is the first in a new classic series for Nosy Crow and this is certainly an excellent start. This is truly a book to treasure.
Thank you to Nosy Crow for sending me a copy of this book to review.