The Velveteen Rabbit was given to me as a child by my grandmother. I've loved this book from the moment I opened the cover. As an adult, feeling lost, I reach for this book finding that same piercing beauty and truths that have so resonated with people all over this world.
The story opens with Rabbit residing in the nursery with Boy's other toys, and presided over by the Skin Horse. The boy, as children will, is often careless with his nursery companions and at night they seek comfort from one another as they listen to the deep wisdom of the old Skin Horse. He's a rather shabby looking old horse with threadbare fur and a tatty mane, but when he tells the others about what it means to become real, they begin the long journey into understanding what it means to be truly loved.
Rabbit desperately longs to become real, though he wonders if it hurts. When Boy, after spending many many nights and days with Rabbit, becomes seriously ill, Rabbit finds himself thrown out on the trash heap. From there, he begins the long painful final steps in becoming a real being.
This is a beautiful tale, I've read to my children and others many many times. The lessons learned from Margery Williams tale help set children on the path of learning to accept and love themselves and others. No matter what they look like or where they come from. There are no video games or cute catchy lyrics to make the lessons go down easier. But.. that's true of most of life's hardest won truths. Isn't it?