Monday, October 11, 2010

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

Recommendation: Highly Recommended

A classic child's story, The Velveteen Rabbit, is one that every child will enjoy. Even in this day of Toy Story movies, this story still holds readers (and listeners) enchanted.

One Christmas a young boy receives a new Rabbit. The Rabbit does not particularly enjoy his new surroundings but, he does becomes fast friends with the Skin Horse, the oldest and wisest toy in the home. The Rabbit is interested in becoming real and the Skin Horse explains that a child must love and cherish you, not just to play with, but truly love you, in order to become real.

One night the Rabbit is taken to the boys room at night and gets to sleep with the boy. He soon becomes the boys constant companion, playing picnic outside and going on adventures as well as sleeping with him every night. He so enjoyed his new life that he didn't even notice how his beautiful fur was getting thin and his tail was falling off. These things no longer mattered to him, because he was loved.

One day the boy became sick, and after a long illness the doctors said all his toys must be burned. The Velveteen Rabbit was gathered up with all the other toys and placed outside to be burned. That night a fairy came to rescue the Rabbit. She turned him into a real rabbit forever.

Positives: Most children have or have had a special toy that was "real" to them. This story allows children to use their imagination and see how it could be if those toys could come to life.

Negatives: I would just offer a small warning that the story might be a bit lengthy for young children. Be prepared to possibly read it in two sittings. It is not a "quick" bedtime story.

Talking Points: This story gives us great opportunity to discuss Christ's love for us and our response. Just like the Rabbit no longer cared about his appearance when the boy loved him, once we are given new life in Christ, once we are loved by Him, nothing else matters.We are now only concerned with pleasing Him. We should no longer care about what others will think. (Pss. 40:8; 73:25-26). Naturally the story also gives us the chance to discuss eternity with our kids. As we read of the Rabbit becoming real and given eternal life we can naturally direct our conversation to our own souls and how can receive the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ and spend eternity with Him in heaven (Acts 16:31, John 14:1-3, Matt. 7:21, Phil. 3:20).

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