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Christmas Unit Study based on The Velveteen Rabbit

The Velveteen Rabbit Unit StudySubmitted by Wende

Library List:
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
The Kingfisher First Animal Encyclopedia (or other animal reference book)

Language Arts –
~Vocabulary – Snubbed, Skin Horse, Rigging, Shabbier, Dingy
~Discuss fact and fiction. Which parts of the story could have really happened?
~Discuss what a Classic Fable is, and how there are often different adaptations written of the same story. Read a couple different versions of The Velveteen Rabbit and compare and contrast them.
~Personification is when an author gives an animal or another object the features of a human. In this story, the toys in the nursery move, talk and feel. Can your child think of any other books or movies where the writer used personification? (Toy Story may come to mind)
~Research the author, Margery Williams. She was born in England in 1881 and moved to the United States when she was 9 years old. Your home-schooled children may find it interesting to know that the author was homeschooled when she was little. She didn’t have many friends and played with her pet mice in her little dollhouse. The Velveteen Rabbit is the only book known to have been written by her.
~Have your child write or narrate a story about a favorite toy coming to life.

Science –
~Research Scarlet Fever and discuss why the toys needed to be disposed of. Discuss the prevention of diseases i.e. proper hand washing, diet, sleep habits, etc.
~Learn about rabbits. Have child look up and read about rabbits in The Kingfisher First Animal Encyclopedia. Look at the pictures of rabbits throughout the book. Collect up your child’s stuffed rabbits and have him sort them by color, size, and sitting or standing, etc. Discuss a rabbit’s diet while snacking on carrot sticks and/or raspberries.

Social Studies –
~ Relationships~ Discuss the relationship between the boy and the rabbit. Does your child have a favorite toy? Have your child compare the things he likes to do with his toy to some of the things the boy liked to do with his rabbit. Talk about how the rabbit must have felt when meeting the real rabbits and being different than them. Discuss ways the real rabbits could have made the stuffed rabbit more comfortable, and apply this to how your child may want to act when he is around children who are different.
~Holiday Symbolism~ On the first page of the story there is a picture of the rabbit tucked into a stocking with a sprig of holly and candy canes. Do your children know why these are used as symbols of the Christmas season? It is said the holly leaves represent the crown of thorns that Christ wore, and the berries represent His blood. The candy cane is said to be in the shape of a shepherd’s staff, the colors representing the purity and blood of Christ. Your child might enjoy reading the Legend of the Candy Cane story.

Extras –
~ Slice the top off a carrot, dip in paint, and make carrot print pictures.
~ On an outline of a rabbit printed on cardstock, have children glue cotton balls to make a picture of a fluffy rabbit.
~ Make carrot cake
~ If available to you, watch an animated version of The Velveteen Rabbit and compare it to the story.
~ Make candy canes out of dough.
~ Cut holly leaves out of construction paper to use for gift tags.
~ If your child has a stuffed animal that is becoming “shabby and unsewn”, set up a stuffed animal hospital and help him to repair it with a needle and thread.