A lightly massaged version of the classic tale, with atmospherically combed and rubbed oil-pencil pictures.
Recasting Williams’ original text into shorter sentences and simpler language (through a translator), Sakai subtly sweetens the overall tone: The Nursery Fairy’s "I take care of all the playthings that the children have loved. When they are old and worn out and the children don't need them any more, then I come and take them away with me and turn them into Real," is here, “I take care of the toys that the children have truly loved. When their time comes and they have to say goodbye, I come for them and make them Real.” The muted, grainy illustrations add further touches of sentiment, not only in the antique, period flavor of the boy’s clothing and toys, but in the rabbit itself, which has a plump and very soft-looking body, large green eyes (still green after its transformation at the end) and a blue neck ribbon that gradually loses color to underscore the wear and tear of constant use.
No replacement for the original, but a particularly tender variant. (Picture book. 6-9)