THE VELVETEEN RABBIT by Margery Williams


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 6 - 9
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Precious as the language sounds to modern ears (the term “nursery magic” alone will likely set the eyes of even preliterate listeners to rolling), Williams’ 1922 classic remains a read-aloud standard thanks to the way big themes of life, death and change weave through its seemingly small and largely familiar domestic events. In this sumptuous unabridged edition, Spirin plays to his strengths. Visual grace notes enclose every block of text within open borders composed of finely drawn, Art Nouveau–style curlicues and tiny, naturalistic floral arrangements. These give way to full-page or full-spread close-up views of a flaxen-haired lad with a distant gaze, a treasure house of upscale antique toys rendered in painstaking detail, a winged Fairy dripping flowers and posed in languid, Botticelli curves and a homely, increasingly grubby bunny that is transformed in the final scenes to a live rabbit bursting with lithe, long-limbed vitality. Rendered in semitransparent watercolor and colored pencil, the art has an ethereal look that misses out on the warm intimacy Michael Hague brought to his interpretation (1983; reprinted in 2008), but for technical accomplishment and stateliness overmatches Monique Felix’s similarly formal pictures (1994) or the plethora of less-memorable versions. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7614-5848-7
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2011


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