Friday, June 26, 2020
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
So, when finding that @reading.the.classics will be hosting 2020 Summer Classics Challenge on Instagram, and one of the prompt is children book, I instantly thought that this is the perfect moment to read The Velveteen Rabbit. This book can also be counted for #JazzAgeJune, as it was published in 1922.
This is a tale of a stuffed rabbit toy, with velvet skin. A boy gets it as Christmas present, but what with all the Christmas excitement and with so many toys the boy possesses in the nursery, the rabbit is quite forgotten for some time. This, and the snubs the rabbit receives from the mechanical toys, quite saddens him. However, an old toy - the oldest and wisest in the nursery - the Skin Horse, changes the rabbit's mind when he talks about being REAL - something that mechanical toys would never be. When being asked what he means by Real, here's the Skin Horse's answer - and it's the best and most important part of the book:
“Real isn’t how you are made. 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.”
The Rabbit is full of hope now. And very lucky of him, one day Nana is looking for a new toy to replace the boy's old one, and the velveteen rabbit is chosen. The boy loves it from the first. He hugs and kisses the rabbit, and he brings it every where he goes - to bed, as well as to the forest to play with him. Those moments are the happiest moments of the rabbit. He doesn't mind that his velvet going shabbier with time, because the boy showers him with love. Now he knows what the Skin Horses meant by being Real. He feels that he is real. And the boy himself says that he's REAL.
However, one day when the boy brings him to the forest, two real rabbits mock him for being stiff and not real because he doesn't have hind legs to jump. It saddens the rabbit.
The boy gets scarlet fever, and the doctor's advice is to bring the boy to seaside, and to burn every toy he's been touching when he's sick. Of course, it includes the old velveteen rabbit. He is tossed into a sack, then left in the backyard, ready to be burnt the next day. That night the velveteen rabbit cries and sheds a real tear. To his astonishment, the tear changes into a lovely flower, and from the flower steps out a fairy who calls herself the nursery magic Fairy. She turns the velveteen rabbit into a real rabbit, so that he can now jump and play with other rabbits in the forest.
Later on when the boy returns home, he is walking in the forest, and sees a rabbit, which he thinks looks very similar to his dear rabbit toy before it's burnt. Of course, that rabbit is the velveteen rabbit, who comes to that spot to see again the boy who has loved him.
A very sweet story, isn't it? And now I know why it became a classic. It talks about love - unconditional love. It is when you love unconditionally that you have a fulfilled life (Real). To love means to sacrifice. But the reward can be much bigger than the sacrifice itself: every moment you share with someone you love is a treasure. And it won't be left unnoticed by God himself, the highest Love.
It's a blessing to read this book, and it instantly become my most favorite children book!
Rating: 5 / 5