Margery Williams was born in London in 1881. She moved with her family to the US in 1890 and there started a career as a writer at the age of nineteen. She wrote many stories for children, of which 'The Velveteen Rabbit' is the most famous. William Nicholson was for many years a television producer, making documentary films. This led to writing television plays (Shadowlands, Life Story, Sweet as You Are, The March), and then stage plays (Shadowlands, Map of the Heart, Katherine Howard, The Retreat from Moscow) and films (Shadowlands, Sarafina, Nell, First Knight, Gladiator). He is married with three children.
Gr 1-4 Were it not for its jumpy design, this version would rank near the top of the half-dozen versions of The Velveteen Rabbit now available. The discomforting design may be accounted for by its translation from an electronic to a print medium (this version is based on a TV special narrated by Meryl Streep). Some illustrations are full page, others vignettes that bleed into the text; still other vignettes have hard edges; there are several isolated figures stuck on the white page; and here and there ovals, rather than rectangles, frame the images. No visual logic accounts for these design variations. Although there are several compelling illustrations, there are too many other scenes that just exist as if cut from larger cloth. The drawings themselves are well-crafted in a fuzzy range of colors that accentuates the warmer hues. Even the night is subfused with golden yellows. The effect is psychologically comforting, supporting the sentimental message of hope with its suggestion of death, resurrection and eternal life. Figures are rendered solidly and with anatomical conviction. Occasionally a pencil outline intrudes and breaks the dreamy magic's spell. Yet there can be no denying the magnetism of the individual characters. Kenneth Marantz, Art Education Department, Ohio State University, Columbus
The beloved tale of the stuffed bunny who becomes real is complemented by delicate pastel drawings. Ages 3-7. (Feb.)