Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Do You Have A "Velveteen Rabbit"

A favorite book of mine and millions of readers is The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams. This touching tale of a stuffed bunny who becomes real through the love of the boy who owns him is timeless and moving.

One of the reasons I love this book so much is because I remember being a little girl and hoping that when I turned off the lights at night or left my room in the morning my toys would came alive. Decades before the movie Toy Story imagined what happens when a human leaves their toys alone, The Velveteen Rabbit captured imaginations with "What if my toys were real?"

I reread The Velveteen Rabbit recently and was reminded of how important a cherished toy is to a child. Through happiness, sorrow and illness there are some comforts that are irreplaceable, for many children it's a stuffed animal. I have a worn and well loved stuffed animal that is my only childhood toy to survive through the dozens of moves I've done since college. My little stuffed dog is about 30 years old, is missing an eye, has had his ears sewn on again and again and is so soft and scraggly only I could love him like I do. A decade ago he was used as a prop in a play because just looking at him you can tell there are years of stories behind him.

I'm 40 years old now and that silly little stuffed dog has stayed by my side in my bedside nightstand through all the years I was married. He is once again out of the drawer and sleeping in my bed, usually under my real dog's head. 30 years later, I am still comforted by a toy. Maybe my stuffed dog is my reminder of innocence. Maybe it's the significance of its history in my life. Maybe it's just because he's soft. Regardless that little dog will be with me until the end of my days. Funny....but I don't think it's much of a coincidence that when I finally adopted a real dog (my beagle Eloise) she has the same saggy body and floppy ears of my cherished toy.

So this Christmas as you buy a special toy for a child in your life why not a copy of The Velveteen Rabbit or a soft stuffed animal. They will understand one day the magic of the story.

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