The Velveteen Rabbit – Margery Williams

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The Velveteen Rabbit is a wonderful children’s book that was published in 1922. It was written by Margery Williams and illustrated by William Nicholson. Although Margery was a professional author since the age of nineteen she is most remembered for The Velveteen Rabbit which she wrote when she was 41 years old.

Even though The Velveteen Rabbit book is a children’s story, it is loved and appreciated by adults as well because of its beautiful underlying messages. Download our free copy of The Velveteen Rabbit PDF to read yourself or with your kids.

The Velveteen Rabbit PDF

The Velveteen Rabbit PDF

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Is The Velveteen Rabbit PDF Free To Download?

Yes, it is! The Velveteen Rabbit book was published in 1922 so it is in the public domain. You are therefore welcome to download and read the PDF for free. We hope you enjoy it!

The Velveteen Rabbit Book Summary

One Christmas, a little boy gets a beautiful rabbit made out of velveteen for Christmas. At first, he doesn’t take too much notice of the rabbit because the other toys he has received are much more exciting.

Rabbit is sad especially when he sees that the other toys are mechanical with moving parts and he is just a plain old stuffed toy with nothing special about him. None of the other toys are kind to him except for Skin Horse. Skin Horse has lived in the nursery a lot longer than any of the other toys and he takes the Rabbit under his wing.

One day the Rabbit asks Skin Horse what it means to be real. Skin Horse tells him:

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real…..

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

Skin Horse | The Velveteen Rabbit

After speaking with Skin Horse, the Velveteen Rabbit wanted nothing more than to be real.

One night, the boy’s nanny gives him Rabbit to sleep with when he can’t find one of his other toys. After this, the boy and Rabbit become best friends. They play together, cuddle together and sleep together and Rabbit slowly begins to lose his fur and come apart in places.

One night, Rabbit is left outside by mistake. The boy begs his nanny to fetch Rabbit from the garden and insists that Rabbit is real and not a toy. Rabbit is completely overjoyed to hear that the boy thinks he is real.

One sunny day, the boy takes Rabbit outside to play. There Rabbit meets a few wild forest rabbits. They come to him wanting to play but he can’t move because he is still just a toy. When the boy comes to fetch Rabbit he frightens the wild rabbits away.

As time goes by Rabbit becomes more and more old and worn from being played with. One day the little boy gets very sick and it is discovered that he has scarlet fever. Rabbit stays by the boy’s side until he is completely better. The doctor however orders the boy’s nanny to burn all his old toys so that the scarlet fever germs can’t be spread.

The rabbit is taken outside to a shed in the garden in a sack. He is very sad and remembers all the happiness he has shared with the boy. A tear falls from his eyes, a real tear! And where it falls a strange flower grows. A fairy appears out of the flower and makes Rabbit real!

The fairy takes Rabbit out to the forest and leaves him with the group of wild rabbits and asks them to take care of him. At first, Rabbit doesn’t want to move because he is scared that the other rabbits will realize he is just a toy. But when he eventually does move he realizes that the fairy has transformed him into a real living rabbit.

One day, the boy goes out to play in the wood behind his house and while he is there he sees a couple of rabbits playing near him. He can’t help noticing how one of the rabbits looks just like his best friend the Velveteen Rabbit! He never learns that the Rabbit is in fact the very same rabbit he loved before he got sick. The Velveteen Rabbit is happy to see his old friend who helped him to become real by loving him.

The Velveteen Rabbit Q&A

What Is The Moral Of The Velveteen Rabbit Story?

One of the most important lessons to learn from The Velveteen Rabbit story is that how you look really doesn’t matter. When you are loved, the way you look becomes completely unimportant. It is who you are on the inside that matters, not what you look like on the outside. Skin Horse tells us:

Because once you are real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.

Skin Horse | The Velveteen Rabbit

We also learn that sometimes in order to become “real” you have to go through hardships and struggles. And these hardships and struggles are what ultimately make you authentic and real.

Why Is The Velveteen Rabbit So Sad?

Although The Velveteen Rabbit ultimately has a happy ending, it is incredibly sad when the doctor orders all the boy’s toys to be burned to prevent scarlet fever from spreading. I’m sure we all remember how special certain toys and objects were to us when we were kids and the thought of losing such special things is heartbreaking. It is also particularly heartbreaking for Rabbit because he truly loves and cares for the boy.

What Disease Is In The Velveteen Rabbit Book?

In The Velveteen Rabbit, the little boy falls ill with scarlet fever. Scarlet Fever is a bacterial infection that is caused by the same bacteria as strep throat, and it is usually spread by coughing and sneezing. It can also be spread if a person touches something that has the bacteria on it and then touches their mouth or nose. Scarlet fever is usually treated with antibiotics and treatment is usually very successful. However, before antibiotics were available, scarlet fever was the leading cause of death in children.

In general, scarlet fever is a mild infection. It usually takes two to five days for someone exposed to group A strep to become sick. Illness usually begins with a fever and sore throat. There may also be chills, vomiting, or abdominal pain. The tongue may have a whitish coating and appear swollen. It may also have a “strawberry”-like (red and bumpy) appearance. The throat and tonsils may be very red and sore, and swallowing may be painful.

DCD | Scarlet Fever

What Age Is The Velveteen Rabbit For?

The Velveteen Rabbit is perfect for kids from about 5 years old but many people say that they enjoy the story even more as adults.

The Velveteen Rabbit Movie

The Velveteen Rabbit has many adaptations, from plays to movies and has been very popular through the years. Here is a very sweet adaptation of the movie which was released in 1985.

The Velveteen Rabbit – 1985 Animation

The Velveteen Rabbit Official Trailer (2009)

In 2009, a live-action / animation movie was released of The Velveteen Rabbit. In the story, a quiet lonely boy by the name of Toby is left with his stern, cold grandmother when his mother passes away and his father loses himself in his work. Toby finds love and comfort with the Velveteen Rabbit and the other toys in his father’s old childhood bedroom.


The Velveteen Rabbit book is a wonderful story that everyone, even adults should read. It is filled with great life lessons and wisdom for everyone. You can download a copy of The Velveteen Rabbit PDF here to read and enjoy.

More Children’s Bedtime Story PDF eBooks:
Winnie The Pooh
Little Red Riding Hood
My Father’s Dragon
The Wind In The Willows
The Three Little Pigs
Alice In Wonderland