The Velveteen Rabbit or How Toys Become Real by Margery Williams & Sarah Massini

We all believe that our childhood toys are real and this is the question that The Velveteen Rabbit struggles with, how can he truly become real? Any child (or adult) with a special toy can relate to this magical story and this beautiful, newly illustrated hardback would make a wonderful Christmas gift. This edition has been illustrated by Sarah Massini and it is the first title in a new series of classic stories which are being republished by Nosy Crow.

The Velveteen Rabbit (Nosy Crow Classics) - Story SnugThe Story: The Boy receives The Velveteen Rabbit as a Christmas present. For a long time The Velveteen Rabbit lives in the toy cupboard with The Skin Horse but one day he is brought out when another favourite bedtime toy has gone missing. From this point on The Velveteen Rabbit becomes the Boy’s special friend, he sleeps with him and plays with him, indoors and out. One day wild bunnies laugh at The Velveteen Rabbit because he’s not real like them but The Velveteen Rabbit knows that he is real because the Boy loves him. When the Boy gets scarlet fever, all of his toys must be destroyed so The Velveteen Rabbit is taken to be burnt. But while waiting for the gardener to light the bonfire something magical happens…

The Velveteen Rabbit’s best friend in the nursery is The Skin Horse who explains that in order for him to become real he must be well loved. The Velveteen Rabbit becomes real in his own mind but he is intrigued by the the wild bunnies, he can’t see the seams where they have been made or a clockwork key to wind them up. He discovers more about them later in the story but we don’t want to spoil the ending!

The book is a wonderful celebration of the relationship between a child and his toy and it is The Velveteen Rabbit’s thoughts and experiences that shape the story. The story itself is timeless although my daughter was fascinated by the clockwork toys and couldn’t understand why The Velveteen Rabbit couldn’t just be washed in the washing machine. The story provoked a range of emotions as we read, we were so sad when the toys were taken out to be burnt but we were reassured by The Velveteen Rabbit’s happy ending.

The book has a sturdy hardback cover embossed with gold and my daughter was surprised and delighted to discover a different picture on the cloth binding to the one that you see on the book jacket shown below. The pages are made of thick Munken paper which gives the book a really luxurious feel. Sarah Massini’s illustrations bring the story to life and we love her use of earthy colours on a cream background. There are so many favourite pictures, my daughter was spellbound by The Nursery Magic Fairy and she loves the picture of the Boy and The Velveteen Rabbit playing pirates, my favourite illustration shows the two of them cuddling up in bed with a book.

If you’re looking to share a classic picture book story with your child this is a gorgeous edition of The Velveteen Rabbit. With its sparkly red and green cover it looks very Christmassy too!

Age Range: 5 +

Author: Margery Williams / Illustrator: Sarah Massini

Thank you to Nosy Crow for sending us this beautifully illustrated version of a classic story. It’s always lovely to share a childhood favourite with your own child. We’re looking forward to seeing which traditional classic picture books you will be republishing next.

24 thoughts on “The Velveteen Rabbit or How Toys Become Real by Margery Williams & Sarah Massini

    • It’s lovely, the text is quite long for a picture book (I’d be interested to know how many words!) so it’s a great story to share with older readers too.

  1. Oh my boy believes his Panda is real!
    This looks gorgeous and a real old classic and I can’t quite believe I haven’t read it before. I know that both my children would enjoy this and I’m always on the look out to add books to our birthday & Christmas lists. I think this will make it on!
    Lovely thorough review

  2. Such a beautiful story and this retelling is quite magnificent! I love Sarah Massini’s illustrations – they mix the traditional elements in a way that will appeal to little ones. #readwithme

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