Toys are real

Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit. Illustrations by William Nicholson/ Iepurasul de catifea

Published April 1st 1987 by Avon (first published 1922)


A child’s attachment to a toy reflects the natural process of developing emotional relationships. It creates dependency but it is not something parents should be worried about, it is an innocent habit developed during transition to the child’s independence. Favorite toys help children expand communication and emotional skills.

How beautiful it is hearing a child exchanging whispers with his or her favorite toy!

And when the children love their toys really, really much, the latter become real. At least this is what Margery Williams says in her book.

There was once a beautiful stuffed velveteen rabbit offered as a Christmas present to a little boy. The boy prefers the modern, mechanical toys so the old-fashioned rabbit is soon forgotten.

The mechanical toys were very superior, and looked down upon everyone else; they were full of modern ideas, and pretended they were real.

The rabbit feels common and insignificant between all the other toys and the only one to be nice to him is the Skin Horse who has lived in the nursery longer than any other toy. The horse is old but wise and understands everything so he initiates a philosophical dialogue when the young inexperienced rabbit asks what real is.

When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real… It doesn’t happen all at once. 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 your joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real, you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.

One night the boy’s Nana gives him the rabbit to sleep with instead of his lost dog so it becomes the child’s favorite companion. The boy talks to him, builds him tunnels, gives him parts in his games and soon the rabbit feels he is becoming real. Because of all the playing and usage the rabbit’s fur is getting shabbier and shabbier and his tail is now unsewn but the toy is happy.

When the boy becomes sick with scarlet fever all his things need to be burnt, including the velveteen rabbit. The toy becomes extremely sad and where his tear drops a beautiful flower appears. The nursery magic fairy steps out of this flower and makes the rabbit real to everyone. He is taken to the forest and changes into a real rabbit. Now he knows the meaning of life and his initiation came to an end.

The Velveteen Rabbit is like Pinnochio. Once they have experienced life and understand the meanings of love and life, magic happens and they become real.

You can find the book here:


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