The Velveteen Rabbit
Margery Williams illustrated by Sarah Massini
If this, the first of Nosy Crow’s new series of picture book classics is anything to judge by, they’re onto a huge winner: Sarah Massini’s pictorial rendition of the book is quite simply heart strings-tuggingly beautiful. I just sat stroking my copy for several minutes before even opening it. Margery Williams classic has been a favourite of mine almost as long as I can remember. I expect you’re familiar with the story of How the Toys Became Real – a tale of friendship and the special loving bond that a young child develops with a favourite soft toy -so I’ll concentrate on the new illustrations. I’m sure Sarah has invested a very great deal of emotional energy and love into every single picture, large …
or small and the result is visual delight at every turn of the page.
Margery Williams’ original story is not far short of 100 years old having first been published in 1922 with illustrations by William Nicholson. I dug out my 1991 copy to look at the two alongside one another.
The first thing that strikes me is that Sarah Massini’s front cover rabbit sports a smart jacket and looks, I have to say, much more “bunchy’ that Nicolson’s. The original book has just seven illustrations and really it’s much more an illustrated book, than a picture book. In contrast, the new version for all its 56 pages is to me, very definitely a picture book of the modern kind. Yes, the seven original illustrations have been re-created herein,
but now, an illustration graces every spread, with text and pictures fully integrated …
Pure magic: this is a book to treasure, to share and to give. And, it’s set the bar very high for the rest of the promised series. I look forward to the next one.