Book Review: The Velveteen Principles, A Guide To Becoming Real


By: Toni Raiten-D’Antonio
When I was in college, way back in the late 60s, a popular book being passed
around was The Velveteen Rabbit. Yes, it is a children’s book and yes, I said I
was in college. Deep within this simple, classic story of a well loved stuffed
rabbit is hidden many basic life truths.

It was and is a guide to becoming real,
and I absolutely loved this book. As a young woman struggling “to find myself” I
found the answers to life’s important questions within, or so I felt.

Many years have passed and I came across this recent book put out for adults,
called The Velveteen Principles. Well, having still held on to my worn copy of
The Velveteen Rabbit, I was naturally curious. I always knew that there was
great wisdom deep inside the story of this nursery toy, and this book sheds some
light on the underlying truths within the Velveteen Rabbit–truths that can
always bear repeating.

For those unfortunate readers who never got a chance to read The Velveteen
Rabbit, first published in 1922, the basic story follows the Rabbit as he
becomes real. Similar to Pinocchio who wanted to be a real boy, the rabbit
wished he fit in with his peers and wanted nothing more than to be special to
the boy who owned him. This book delves into the bottom line of the human heart
and how each of us only yearns for the same basic things. We too wish for
nothing more in life than to be real, to fit in with our peers, and to be loved
unconditionally for our true selves by someone else. Everything basically boils
down to those innate needs and desires.

The writer, a psychotherapist and a teacher, also brings her own wisdom as a
mother and a woman to the principles discussed. She offers up the thought that
“becoming Real is the purpose of every kind of psychotherapy. It is living in
the moment with the deepest respect for yourself and for others.” But, as we
know, being truly real is easier said than done. The author tries to gently
remind you of the importance of discovering and claiming one’s sense of real. In
our rushed, overworked and overloaded lifestyles, we often lose our sense of
self and the book tries to gently nudge you back on the original path you might
have strayed off from. A great many people lose track of their true talents,
desires, and passions and need a wake up call as a reminder. Our society tends
to value things like houses, cars, and large salaries, more than it values core
behaviors like honesty, sincerity, and kindness.

In Margery Williams’s story, the Skin Horse is the shabbiest but the wisest
stuffed animal in the nursery. He is so worn from being so loved. Yet the Rabbit
recognizes that, though the Skin Horse’s hair has been hugged off, he is
innately the happiest toy, and the Rabbit too wants to be that content and

There are twelve Velveteen Principles outlined in this book, guiding the reader
back to his true self. Hopefully, they will resonate with you and remind you of
not only a favorite childhood story, but your original hopes and dreams when you
were first reading it. For those who enjoy self help type books, you will like
this one. For those who remember and liked the Velveteen Rabbit, you will LOVE

Title: The
Velveteen Principles, A Guide To Becoming Real
Author: Toni Raiten-D’Antonio
Publisher: Health Communications, Inc.
ISBN: 0757302114
Review written by: Janet

  • Evie_G13

    One of the readings at my wedding was from the Velveteen Rabbit. It was read by my mother. My mother AND my husband have a Master’s in Counseling Psychology so this sounds like just the thing we need to read! 🙂 Thanks for the fun review.

  • Elspeth

    I love the Velveteen Rabbit. I too am going to get this book, just to see what exactly this psychologist says about “becoming real.” 🙂

  • Tonya Ashby

    I too, love the story of The Velveteen Rabbit and I still hold it very close to my heart. So will definitely be getting the book!!!! Thank you for review it has really inspired me to get it and dive straight into it. Many Thanks