December 2018

The Velveteen Rabbit

The Velveteen Rabbit 

by Margery Williams

At first a brand-new toy, now a threadbare and discarded nursery relic, the velveteen rabbit is saved from peril by a magic fairy who whisks him away to the idyllic world of Rabbitland. There, he becomes “Real,” a cherished childhood companion who will be loved for eternity. Treasured for generations, here is a timeless tale about the magic of boundless love.

A Note from the First Lady

Dear Read20 Book Club families,

Do you have a prized toy or stuffed animal that brings you joy? I did growing up, all of my children did, and now my grandchildren each have their own unique treasure that offers a sense of comfort and cheer when they sleep, play or find themselves upset. The Velveteen Rabbit is the beautiful story of a stuffed bunny that becomes the favorite belonging of its young owner and a bit of magic that happens when the rabbit has been loved until his fur is worn and his seams are coming undone.

This time of year, there are many wonderful opportunities to cozy up with your loved ones and read a story together. One of my favorite ways to enjoy this story is to listen to this read-aloud version read by Meryl Streep with music by George Winston. After you read the story on your own, be sure to take time to listen to this enchanting recording that truly brings the story to life! I hope The Velveteen Rabbit warms you from the inside out this cold December. Many blessings to you and your family this holiday season!

Keep up the great reading!

Crissy Haslam

First Lady of Tennessee

Fun Family Activities

1. Pretending with Puppets: Using paper bags, socks, cardboard cutouts, paper plates or mittens and a few art supplies, craft puppets of the characters from The Velveteen Rabbit story. As you are making the puppets, think carefully about how you will differentiate each character. Will your Velveteen Rabbit puppet look differently when it becomes ‘Real’? Once you have your puppets made, grab a friend and put on a puppet show! First, you can act out the story of The Velveteen Rabbit. Then, if you like, try to put on a new and different puppet show using the same puppets with your imagination. What happens in the story you made up?

2. Social Studies: Choose four toys from the list below. Research each toy to find out more about it and then design a ‘trading card’ for each toy you choose that includes a photo or drawing of each toy, the year it was invented and some fun facts about the toy. What will you learn about the beloved toys of children past? Were you familiar with any of the toys on the list already? Are any of the toys that you read about based on an even older toy or game? Which one is the oldest toy? Is it still used today? Which toy would you like to play with most?

Slinky, Magic 8 Ball, Furby, Pogo Stick, Lincoln Logs, Legos, Easy-Bake Oven, Etch-A-Sketch, Mr. Potato Head, Shrinky Dinks, Rubix Cube, Polly Pockets, View-Master, Skip-It, Transformers

3. Theme Reflection: Our favorite toys, stuffed animals or other beloved items can hold so much special meaning for us. How is having a special toy the same or different as having a friend? Think about the rabbit at the beginning and end of the story. How do the physical characteristics of the rabbit show the passage of time? How does the condition of the rabbit show evidence of love? If the boy met the Real Velveteen Rabbit in the woods, do you think he would recognize him? Why or why not? What do you think happens when we love others deeply?

4. Further Reading: Visit your local library to find another book you might enjoy if you liked reading The Velveteen Rabbit. Some great suggestions to explore might be: Corduroy by Don Freeman, A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Bennett or The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne. For more from Margery Williams, check out The Little Wooden Doll or The Skin Horse.