MARGERY WILLIAMS was born in London in 1881 and first came to the United States at the age of nine. For the rest of her life, she lived alternately in England and America. Her first novel was published when she was twenty-one, but she turned to writing for children in 1922 with the publication by Doubleday of The Velveteen Rabbit, the first and best-known of her thirty books for young people. Toward the end of her life, she lived in Greenwich Village, New York. She died there in 1944.
WILLIAM NICHOLSON was born in Newark-on-Trent, England, in 1872. He illustrated several books during his lifetime, including the children's classic The Velveteen Rabbit, and was also a renowned portrait painter. Many of his portraits and still lifes hang today in museums and galleries throughout England. He was knighted in 1936, and died in 1949.
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
Quiet, graceful illustrations accentuate the classic tale's nostalgic tone. Ages 6-10. (Mar.)
"Well done. A good read-aloud for small groups of children."--School Library Journal.