The Velveteen Rabbit - Margery Williams, William  Nicholson This is my teddy bear:


His name is “Teddy” and I have no recollection of getting him, but he has been with me for over 35 years. I can’t say that he and I were (are) as close as the Boy and his Rabbit. I have no memories of sleeping with him nor of fervently clutching him when afraid nor of making ersatz bear dens for his comfort but he was always on the periphery of my life. Lurking on top of my dresser, carelessly tossed on the bed or (today) carefully packed away with a few other childhood treasures. And the idea of throwing him away or giving him to the Salvation Army is so fundamentally wrong that my stomach twists in dismay and I know – I know, even though I’m an atheist – that I will spend eternity in Hell if I ever do so.

My friend at work has occasionally recommended this book to me as it’s one of her favorites. This is the same woman who got me the novelization of the movie J.T. for Christmas one year. I watched J.T. in the second grade, and I refuse to read the book because that experience so affected me that I don’t want to relive it.

She also recommended the first Transformers movie.

So you can see that I was wary about The Velveteen Rabbit but I was finally moved to read it by a chance reference in an essay I read in the October 29, 2012 issue The Nation, the following quote:

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day….

“You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby…. But once you are Real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.”

That observation resonated and I downloaded the eBook from the Project Gutenberg site.

This is a marvelous story and I can easily identify with the Boy (and there’s a happy ending, unlike J.T.), and it’s going on my Christmas list for my youngest niece, who’s six.