The Velveteen Rabbit

by Margery Williams (HarperCollins Sydney 1996, first published in 1922 by Vermillion USA)

(This particular edition has been beautifully illustrated by Donna Green.)

peace with ourselves

recommended and available in many different versions

This timeless story for all ages to enjoy and share together contains many of he defined peace-building elements:

  • happy endings

  • everyone winning

  •     non-violent resolution

  • imaginative and creative

  • challenges existing stereotyping

  • faith and hope

  •     peace with the environment

  • finding personal peace

  • element that supports the idea that peace is possible

The story, though, is particularly about the meaning of life, and what is important. The Velveteen Rabbit learnt what it means to become real. By being loved by a small boy and becoming shabby and dirty as a result, the toy earned his right to become real, yet as the story unfolded, we learnt there was more involved with becoming real than the rabbit first was aware. Unlike many of his nursery companions, who had springs and working parts, the rabbit had no hind legs, so when he was presented with the opportunity to run about like other rabbits did, he feared he was unable to do so. But being loved by the boy as much as the rabbit was allowed for some incredible magic to occur.

The happy ending in this story is especially heart-warming.

The Velveteen Rabbit lived happily ever after once he became real.

The boy became an adult yet never forgot his special rabbit.

The rabbit learned to appreciate that becoming real can take a lifetime, and it did involve getting hurt. Becoming real doesn't happen to people who..

 "break easily, or have sharp edges or who have to be carefully kept."

One must endure and be patient.

A child's love makes us real.

Read stories created by year 6 students at Pulteney Grammar. Along with the help of their year 3 peer support partner, who each brought along to school their own special toy, they created stories that explored the meaning of the world REAL. Interpretations were varied and interesting.

Critical questions to explore with children

  • Which toy did the small boy treasure the most?
  • What questions did the rabbit ask the Skin Horse?
  • What happened to the boy?
  • What did the boys nana choose to do?
  • Did the rabbit become real?
  • Does the story have a happy win-win ending?

Creative questions to explore with children

  • Do you have toys you treasure?
  • How did you feel when you lost one that you really treasured?
  • When you were very small did you talk to your toys?
  • What do you think makes someone REAL?
  • What things change the most as you grow older?
  • How else could the story have ended with win-win?

  Claude the Real Horse by Imy and Steph

  The Real Story by Dana and Prue

Teaching and Learning for Peace Foundation February 2005

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