Retell this story by giving a short summary of what you can remember of it. (in less than 400 words)
The velveteen rabbit is given to the boy one Christmas. He’s plush and new, and the fanciest toy in the room, and is quite proud of his luxurious coat. He becomes the boy’s constant companion, going everywhere with him, but this comes at the cost of the velveteen rabbit’s appearance. He becomes patchy and raggedy as time passes. One of the other toys in the playroom is a rocking horse. The horse has been in the family for many years, and tells the velveteen rabbit that being worn and loved makes a toy more alive than being pristine but never used. One day, the boy takes the velveteen rabbit out to play in the woods. While they’re there, the velveteen rabbit meets some “real” rabbits, and is embarrassed when they discover that he’s a toy, that his legs aren’t even the right shape. The boy gets scarlet fever and becomes very ill. He spends a lot of time ill and recovering in bed, and the velveteen rabbit is there with him every minute. However, when the boy recovers, everything he was around when he was sick has to be taken away and burned, his clothes, his bedding, and the velveteen rabbit. While waiting with the other discarded things, the velveteen rabbit starts to cry. When his tear hits the ground, it grows into a flower and the flower has a fairy in it. The fairy brings the velveteen rabbit to where the wild rabbits live. At first the velveteen rabbit is scared of the other rabbits teasing him, but he discovers that his legs are no longer one solid piece, and he can run and jump. As a reward for his loving the boy, he becomes a real rabbit and gets to live out his days in the wild.
Think about (try to remember) and write down what fascinated you most about this story. What can you remember best? What impressed you most? … Its characters? The locations? The plot? The style and voice of the story? Or maybe even the surroundings of how this story was told, maybe by your parents, grandparents, or maybe in your first self-read book? Tell us the story OF the story so-to-speak. (less than 500 words)
I had this read to me when I was very young, and to me it was the saddest story I’d ever heard. I didn’t remember the ending so clearly until I read it a few years ago, I mostly remember the part where the boy got sick and the velveteen rabbit had to be thrown out. The idea that this rabbit who loved the boy so much and helped him so much when he was sick would end up having to be disposed of because of this seemed so tragic and unfair. Also, as far as I was concerned, scarlet fever was the scariest thing that could happen!
I also strongly remember the beauty of the artwork. It wasn’t silly like some children’s books, or bright and bold. They were soft, detailed paintings, and possibly the tone of the story helped emphasise the more somber tone of the story. By contrast, the Quentin Blake illustrations of the Roald Dhal brought out the wonderful whimsy of the work.
I don’t remember strongly identifying with either the boy or the velveteen rabbit, compared to how strongly I identified with Matilda in the Roald Dahl book, but as a child who was often sick, and a bit of an outsider, I guess I identified somewhat with both. There are several standard story elements at work here, the velveteen rabbit’s desire to be alive, the mentoring by the wise old horse, almost failing and being destroyed, and then being rewarded with life for his love for the boy. It’s interesting how I forgot the ending of the story, and for much of the time I viewed the velveteen rabbit being put out for destruction as being the end of the story. I think it would still work as a story ending like this, although it might be considered too upsetting for the audience (or their parents!).