Velveteen Rabbit Sample

This page features a sample of The Velveteen Rabbit, edited for children aged 8 and above by Books for Learning.

There was once a velveteen1 rabbit, and in the beginning he was really splendid2. He was fat and bunchy, as a rabbit should be; his coat was spotted brown and white, he had real thread whiskers, and his ears were lined with pink sateen3. On Christmas morning, when he sat wedged in the top of the Boy’s stocking, with a sprig4 of holly between his paws, the effect was charming.

There were other things in the stocking, nuts and oranges and a toy engine5, and chocolate almonds and a clockwork mouse, but the Rabbit was quite the best of all. For at least two hours the Boy loved him, and then Aunts and Uncles came to dinner, and there was a great rustling of tissue paper and unwrapping of parcels6, and in the excitement of looking at all the new presents the Velveteen Rabbit was forgotten.

For a long time he lived in the toy cupboard or on the nursery floor, and no one thought very much about him. He was naturally shy, and being only made of velveteen, some of the more expensive toys quite snubbed7 him. The mechanical8 toys were very superior, and looked down upon every one else; they were full of modern ideas, and pretended they were real. The model boat, who had lived through two seasons and lost most of his paint, caught the tone9 from them and never missed an opportunity of referring to his rigging10 in technical terms11. The Rabbit could not claim to be a model of anything, for he didn’t know that real rabbits existed; he thought they were all stuffed with sawdust like himself, and he understood that sawdust was quite out-of-date and should never be mentioned in modern circles12. Even Timothy, the jointed wooden lion, who was made by the disabled soldiers, and should have had broader views13, put on airs14 and pretended he was connected with Government. Between them all the poor little Rabbit was made to feel himself very insignificant and commonplace, and the only person who was kind to him at all was the Skin Horse15.

  1. velveteen—a material made of cotton that feels like velvet. (Velvet is a very soft material that feels like fur.)
  2. splendid—fine and beautiful.
  3. sateen—a smooth, shiny material like satin.
  4. sprig of holly—holly is a plant with spiky leaves and red berries that is used in Christmas decorations. A ‘sprig’ is a twig or little bit of branch with leaves on it.
  5. toy engine—a toy train.
  6. parcels—presents.
  7. snubbed—ignored or made fun of.
  8. mechanical toys—toys that have moving parts. ‘Mechanical’ sounds like ‘mek-an-ic-al’.
  9. tone—way of talking.
  10. rigging—strings that hold up his mast and sails.
  11. technical terms—fancy language or big words.
  12. in modern circles—around people who like to be trendy or ‘up-to-date’.
  13. broader views—better sense, or a more open mind.
  14. put on airs—got puffed up.
  15. Skin Horse—a toy horse on wheels, which can be sat on or pulled along. It is called a ‘skin’ horse because it has a stitched covering—as if it had real skin.