Every Saturday I go to the library to pick out a new book. This week I checked out one of my favorites, The Velveteen Rabbit. A lot of people think this book is old-fashioned. Well, they don't know beans! It's a wonderful story about a stuffed animal that becomes real.
Some people think the story is weak because the rabbit becomes real twice. First, he becomes real to the little boy who loves him, the best kind of real there is. But then the little boy gets sick and his germy toys and books are thrown away. The velveteen rabbit feels that being real isn't what it's cracked up to be. Why be real if you end up in the dump? But that's what love is all about. It's a risk you take. If you don't love, you will never be loved. Then the nursery magic angel appears--this is where people lose interest in the book, I think--and turns the velveteen rabbit into a Real Rabbit. The rabbit says, "Wasn't I Real before?" and the fairy says, "You were Real to the Boy because he loved you. Now you shall be Real to every one."
And so the rabbit becomes a real rabbit. I love the ending and won't tell what happens. I also love the pictures by William Nicholson. These are the original 1922 illustrations. Some people think the colors are weird, but I like the yellows and soft blues and browns. I've seen the illustrations of this story by Michael Hague and other artists. They don't have the right "toy-ness" that William Nicholson's have. Not everything has to be neon-bright.
Would you like to be a Real Elephant?
I'll have to think about that. For now, it's enough to be Real to Sophie and The Writer.