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. His mother goes outside in the rain with her flashlight. She searches in the darkness until she stumbles over the rabbit in the grass. The poor rabbit
is very wet. She tucks the velveteen rabbit under her arm and hurries back inside to the little boy.
She gives the little boy the rabbit and says, “Please be careful where you leave your toys.”
“My rabbit is not a toy! He is my friend. He is real,” the little boy says. The boy hugs the velveteen rabbit and his mother smiles at the two friends.
The velveteen rabbit is cold and dripping with water, but he does not mind at all. This has been the happiest night of his life. The little boy loves him!
At the end of a perfect summer, the little boy’s family goes on a long trip. The velveteen rabbit watches the family pack. He’s excited to go on another
adventure with the little boy. But then they drive away! The little boy has forgotten to pack the velveteen rabbit.
The velveteen rabbit begins to cry. His teardrops roll off his fluffy cheek and fall to the ground. In the same spot a beautiful magical flower grows.
The flower holds a fairy who sweetly says to the velveteen rabbit, “Hello, dear rabbit, your love for the boy has earned you the right to become real!”
“Wasn’t I real already?” asks the rabbit.
“Only to the boy. Now, I will make you real to everyone!” Suddenly the rabbit takes a little hop, then he hops again, and again! He jumps over flowers and rocks. He plays with other rabbits in the woods. He nibbles on sweet lettuce from the garden.
When the little boy returns home from his long trip, he runs to the woods to play. He meets a rabbit who looks very familiar. The rabbit is not like all the other little rabbits in the woods who quickly scurry away when they see the little boy.This rabbit hops right up to the boy as if to say hello. The boy kneels down and smiles at the friendly rabbit. “You remind me of my old friend, the velveteen rabbit,” says the little boy.
“Do you think we could be friends?” the little boy whispers to the rabbit. The rabbit wiggles his pink nose and the little boy laughs.
From that day on, the little boy always looks for the rabbit in the woods. The rabbit loves hopping over rocks and flowers. He likes playing with the other
rabbits that live in the woods. But he also loves the little boy. The rabbit will never forget the little boy’s love and friendship, which made him real.