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The Velveteen Rabbit Summary

Instructor: Mary Evans

Mary has taught elementary school for six years and has a master's degree in education.

'The Velveteen Rabbit' is the story of a toy rabbit who is loved so much that he becomes Real. In this summary, you'll get a taste of the wonder, the heartbreak, and the magic of Margery Williams' tale of love between a child and his favorite toy.

Christmas Morning

On Christmas morning, the little Boy wakes to find a velveteen toy rabbit stuffed in his stocking among fruits, nuts, and other small items. The Boy plays with the Velveteen Rabbit for a couple of hours and then moves on to more exciting gifts.

The Velveteen Rabbit is kept in the toy box, where he is snubbed, or looked down on, by the other, more fancy toys in the nursery. The wind-up toys are especially snobbish, and even the wooden lion looks down on him. Only the Skin Horse, who has been in the nursery longest, is kind to him.

Illustration of the Velveteen Rabbit by William Nicholson
The Velveteen Rabbit

The Skin Horse Tells His Story

The Skin Horse tells the Velveteen Rabbit that toys can become Real. If a child loves the toy well enough - typically to the point that it becomes quite worn out - the toy becomes Real. It is a long process, he says, and it can hurt. But it's worth it.

Then one night, the Boy's caretaker, Nana, can't find the toy the Boy normally sleeps with. Instead, she gives him the Velveteen Rabbit, and they are inseparable from then on.

Spring Time and a Summer Night

The Boy takes the Velveteen Rabbit on wheelbarrow rides and picnics. He even has Nana go find the Rabbit in the dark one evening when the Boy realizes he has left him outside. It is on that evening the Boy first insists that the Rabbit is Real.

Then in the summer, the Rabbit encounters something odd - two rabbits playing in the wood behind the Boy's house. They can stretch and jump in ways the Velveteen Rabbit has never seen. They encourage him to play, but he's embarrassed because he can't.

Anxious Times

Everyone becomes anxious, or worried, when the Boy becomes sick. He has scarlet fever, and for days on end he lays in bed. The Rabbit stays with him and dreams of the things they will do together when the Boy is well again.

Thankfully, the Boy recovers, but the doctor orders that everything in the Boy's bed be burned so as not to spread the illness to others. The Velveteen Rabbit is taken with the bedclothes and other items and left in a sack in the yard to be burned.

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