Welcome to more of my children’s book reviews. As ever, I hope you will enjoy my varied choice of books and the reviews of them. Please don’t forget to scroll down the page and read them all!
Children’s Book of the Week: The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams Bianco
Available on Amazon in Hardcover $11.01 and in Kindle/Paperback/Audio /Board Book
I first read this book as a child and I have never forgotten it. Sadly, my original copy disappeared years ago, so I was both amazed and thrilled when I saw it had been re-released (yet again) on Amazon earlier this year. I instantly grabbed a copy of this latest reprint to give to the youngest member of the family. It was an absolute delight to read all over again, especially to a young child wrapped up in every word. How many children have actually read this book may never be known, but it has a universal appeal to young and old alike, so there must be countless numbers of enlightened folk out there.
The Velveteen Rabbit is the story of a stuffed toy given as a Christmas gift to a boy, and then being forgotten and left to its own devices in the nursery. As the title suggests, he is made of soft velveteen and “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 sateen”.
He spends his days waiting for the ‘boy’ to return to the nursery to claim him and love him, so he can become a ‘real’ rabbit. This, he is reliably informed by the skin horse, his only friend and the oldest and wisest toy in the nursery, is how toys become real. “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.” The Velveteen Rabbit’s wish to be claimed again comes true when the boy finally does come back for him, or rather Nanny does, and he and the boy become inseparable. Until, that is, the boy falls ill with scarlet fever and all things change.
This enchanting story brought heaps of memories flooding back. I am sure many a child with a favourite toy they loved more than the rest will have dreamt of it becoming ‘real’ one day. I know I did, so this touched a chord. Not only that, it really is the most endearing of tales, with touches of sadness and moments of joy. It tells us toys have feelings too; and when you are a child, that is just what you do believe or want to believe. The writing is inspiring and the illustrations are divine, totally in keeping with the original artwork first published in 1922. No specific age can be applied to reading and enjoying this beautiful, heart-warming book; it’s suitable for both young and old. And, it is certainly a book that should grace every child’s bookshelf. (5 stars)
Other Books I Have Reviewed
A Doctor of Divinity by Shelley J Reeves
Available on Amazon as an eBook $3.14
When I first saw the title of this book, before having read the author’s note, I was not quite sure what to expect. But, as author Shelley J Reeves points out, the title is ‘merely a metaphor’. A Doctor of Divinity is, in fact, a story about a courageous and cheerful little chickadee sharing his kindness, happiness and wisdom; and his survival following particularly harsh weather, one winter in upper New England.
The winter in question has left ice on the ground and in the trees, sealing whichever ‘pantry’ Chick D.D. flies to in search of food. But then, quite unexpectedly, the loud, reverberating sound of snow shoes is heard upon the ground, and things start to look far more promising for the hungry little bird.
This is a short, touching tale which is beautifully, almost poetically written. The descriptions of Chick D.D. and his habitat are rich, flowing and colourful. It is easy to imagine the cottony snow and the unrelenting ice; the descriptions are so alive with clarity. “The second storm had covered the soft white blanket with sparkling ice and had swept across the white-barked birch trees and their purple-brown branches, leaving them shining all over.” There is a worthy message of inspiration and hope to be found, which can be enjoyed by all.
The cover, of course, is delightful, and inside the book there are some very appealing photographs.
I would certainly recommend this book and hope it will be available in print at some point. (5 stars)
(A Doctor of Divinity would be best suited to ages 12 years and upwards)
Buddie – The Trampolining Bear by Sarah Cooper
Available on Amazon as an eBook $1.18
Summer Sault, once a champion gymnast, gives her son, Bouncer, a more than Olympic sized trampoline to practise his skills on for the forthcoming International Trampolining Event. Training for the event seems to be going extremely well until Bouncer wakes up one morning to find bear paw prints on his treasured apparatus. When he tries to tell his parents, school friends and Mrs Blossom, his teacher, they all make fun of him. Even his best friend, Ed, finds it all somewhat amusing. Then Ed comes to Bouncer’s house for a sleepover, and both boys watch in awe from their bedroom window as one very accomplished little bear, Buddie, appears and goes through her routine on the trampoline.
This is an imaginative little story filled with magic, friendship and kindness. It is eminently suitable for young children; especially those who like trampolines. As they now make these for the very young, safety bars and all, a great many children will be able to identify with Bouncer and Buddie.
In all, a magical story with sweet and likeable characters, and with lots of magical sparkly bits to enchant. The simple sweet drawings are also very endearing. (5 stars)
(Buddie – The Trampolining Bear would be best suited to age 5 years and upwards)
Rufus and Magic Run Amok by Marilyn Levinson
Available on Amazon as an eBook $2.90 and in Paperback $7.99
Rufus Breckenridge is a ten-year old boy who reluctantly inherits some magical gifts. His mother, grandmother and aunt are all ‘empowered’, and he has seen it all before. In fact, he comes from a long line of witches. But he has never felt any inclination whatsoever to join the coven and share their lifestyle.
Rufus is not, however, sure when he will get to use these wonderful powers bestowed upon him, or indeed, if ever. As he ambles through his young life, ever thankful that the power, as yet, has not manifested itself, something awful happens to his long-time tormentor, Big Douggie, the school bully. And, all because the thought of getting his own back had run through Rufus’ mind!
This is the second of Marilyn Levinson’s books I have read. And this one, although aimed at a younger market, is just as enjoyable as the first. I was completely taken with it from page one. It’s one of those books you just have to keep turning the pages to see what happens next. It is a pretty short read and I’m confident that children will find it fun, fast-paced, and magical. A thoroughly enjoyable book for anyone searching for a little magic in their day! Get ready to believe in witches again (the good sort). (5 stars)
(Rufus and Magic Run Amok would be best suited to ages 8 and upwards)
All my reviews can be found on Amazon and, where possible, Goodreads.
Please note: Authors frequently offer their books at lower prices and often they are free. These prices were correct at the time of publishing, but it is worth checking for price changes.