One of my closest friends, Nicki, asked me to do a reading at her wedding. I was really chuffed and honoured when she asked me and of course I accepted! There was another
reading during the ceremony, an extract from The Velveteen Rabbit, written by American author Margery Williams in 1922. It was a beautiful excerpt describing what it meant to be ‘real’ and what love is – a lovely message of friendship and kindness. Since then, I have been curious to read this book, which Nicki described as a kind of American Winnie-the-Pooh. Seeing as I mainly read modern texts, I thought that I would give it a try and was excited to see that I could listen to this story as an audio book for free on the app Librivox as it is in the public domain.
I started to listen to this story whilst my husband drove us from Nevada to California. It kept me awake – I fall asleep when I’m a passenger in a car within a matter of seconds – and helped me avoid getting car sick as I wasn’t reading directly. Although slightly antisocial, it was really nice to be read to and speeding up the reader meant that I could indulge in ‘reading’ a book fairly quickly. Sometimes I felt that the speeding up of the reader resulted in losing some of the reading experience, but I did enjoy it. Since then, I have listened to more classic stories for free via the Librivox app on my phone whilst walking in and around town. I’m currently listening to Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and have got through A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett as well as Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Reviews to come.
So, The Velveteen Rabbit. It is truly a beautiful story of a young boy’s toy rabbit and the rabbit’s understanding of who he is and whether he is ‘real’ or not. As Nicki said, it does have a Winnie-the-Pooh vibe and this short story stirs deep emotions and thoughts about affection and friendship. The much loved, and thus slightly weathered rabbit, will remind many people I am sure of a favourite childhood toy. You know the one, the one that has been cuddled and played with so much that it is missing an eye or a bit of stuffing. The most disheveled toys are always loved the most! As I am writing this, I have remembered a child that I used to teach who told me about his teddy bear given to him when he was born. It was named Fred Bear, which I thought was very fitting, as a toy as old as it’s owner would most likely be thread bare by the time the owner became an adult!
If you don’t already, why not listen to some books? I am currently using the free app Librivox to listen to classic stories. If you want to listen to something more current, you will have to pay but apps like Audible often have deals on their books.