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Margery Williams's the Velveteen Rabbit


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Hague's warm paintings give a soft sheen to Williams's classic story. Ages 5-10. (May) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

PreS-Gr 2‘A pleasant, small volume that joins the growing list of publishers' reworkings of this classic story. Krupinski uses pretty tones of the primary colors in full-page paintings facing pages of text, each headed by a decorative capital forming an elegant link to the pictured story elements. She takes small liberties in both story and pictures in adapting Margery Williams's well-known tale. Here the rabbit's "spotted brown and white" velveteen coat is a soft beige patterned with pale flowers and brighter turquoise spots. Though his color deepens a bit with age, he often looks more calico than velveteen, and his coat is particularly jarring as he encounters the rabbits in the natural world. The abridgment of the text removes some of the early bulky description of the playroom dynamics among the toys. For the most part the story moves well and retains the original language. One crucial omission, however, weakens the set-up of the basic premise. No longer do readers hear of the modern-minded mechanical toys who "pretended they were real." When the Velveteen Rabbit asks the Skin Horse, "What is real?" the idea seems oddly unrelated to anything. Occasionally overly sweet (the fairy is greeting-card precious), the book is appealing in its modest square layout. Libraries wanting varied interpretations of classic titles will be interested.‘Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston

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