Some people show their love of books by doing everything they can to keep them looking new. Me? I’m more like the little boy in The Velveteen Rabbit, who loved his old stuffed bunny until it was nearly falling apart. If that sounds familiar, here are five quotes from The Velveteen Rabbit that will make you proud of your less-than-pristine book collection.
1. “When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
Your favorite tattered book was once, like the little velveteen rabbit, “really splendid.” The pages were smooth and the cover was clean. But you didn’t just read that book. Oh, no! You loved it—not just the story, but the book itself. And you went on loving it until that book was as real to you as any friend.
2. “And so time went on, and the little Rabbit was very happy–so happy that he never noticed how his beautiful velveteen fur was getting shabbier and shabbier, and his tail becoming unsewn, and all the pink rubbed off his nose where the Boy had kissed him.”
Each time that you handle your book, lovingly opening and closing it, the cover is wearing thin around the edges and the pages are being bent and even acquiring a smudge here and there. Do you notice? Of course not! You are too happy, lost in the enthralling story that your friend is sharing with you.
3. “Spring came, and they had long days in the garden, for wherever the Boy went the Rabbit went too.”
Perhaps your books might look nicer if you kept them inside and never let them venture out into the world of dirt, rain, food, and all the other dangers lurking in the beyond. But of course, you can’t do that. No matter how many times you have read them, you are so gripped by the stories that you carry them with you everywhere you go.
4. “To him he was always beautiful, and that was all that the little Rabbit cared about. He didn’t mind how he looked to other people, because the nursery magic had made him Real, and when you are Real shabbiness doesn’t matter.”
Fortunately for you and your book, looks don’t matter a bit. That book is beautiful to you. Each time you open it, you are filled with memories. The time you dropped it in the bathtub. How you felt the first time you read it. The time it made you laugh until you cried. You would never trade your precious, shabby friend for some new, soulless copy from the bookstore.
5. “You mustn’t say that. He isn’t a toy. He’s REAL!”
And so, when someone—well-meaning, but totally missing the point—comments on the scruffy appearance of our literary friends, or suggests that we ought to treat our books more carefully, we’ll feel like the little boy in the story when his nurse suggests that the velveteen rabbit is just a toy. Like him, we’ll want to cry out, “You mustn’t say that. He isn’t a [book]. He’s REAL!”
What book have you read so often that it’s falling apart?
YouTube Channel: Erika Chung
Featured image via Wikimedia