On Christmas morning, a little boy finds a special surprise in
his stocking. It is a velveteen rabbit.
The little boy loves the velveteen rabbit. He kisses its soft tummy. He tucks the rabbit under his arm and opens all his other gifts.
The little boy puts the rabbit in his bedroom with all his other toys. The little boy has lots of toys. Some are shiny and others make noise. The velveteen rabbit feels very plain next to the other toys. He is nothing but fluff and stitches.
Soon, the velveteen rabbit becomes good friends with a shabby old horse. The
little boy has played with the horse so much one of his ears hangs on with a pin.
"Flashy toys don't last," says the horse. "They don't have anything lovable inside. They will never be real."
"What does it mean to be real?" asks the velveteen rabbit.
"You become real after someone loves you for a long time. You are old and tattered, but that's okay. When you are real, you are truly beautiful!"
The velveteen rabbit wants to be real!
That night, the little boy chooses the velveteen rabbit to sleep with him. The velveteen rabbit snuggles close to the boy. The boy wraps his arm around the velveteen rabbit and hugs him.
From that night on, the velveteen rabbit always goes where the little boy goes. They go on picnics, play in the garden, or go to the woods.
One day, the velveteen rabbit goes with the little boy to pick flowers. The little boy gives the velveteen rabbit a ride in the wheelbarrow.
The velveteen rabbit's heart is full of joy. He loves the boy and feels lucky to spend so much time with him. The velveteen rabbit is so happy on the inside that he does not notice how shabby he is becoming on the outside.
His fur is dirty from playing outside with the boy. The space between his ears is beginning to wear thin from all the hugs at bedtime.
One afternoon, the little boy and the velveteen rabbit are playing in the garden. Suddenly, lightning flashes in the sky and it begins to rain. The little boy runs straight home and forgets the velveteen rabbit hiding in the garden. The rabbit is all alone in the garden and is very sad. He misses the little boy.
At bedtime, the little boy realizes the velveteen rabbit is still outside. He looks up at his mother with big, sad eyes. "Will you please rescue my friend, the velveteen rabbit?" he asks.
To find out what happened to the velveteen rabbit, go to the next page.