Thursday, June 2, 2016

Introducing Teddy by Jessica Walton and Dougal MacPherson (Bloomsbury Children's Books)

"Oh No, a Teddy Book!" wailed Charlotte as we unwrapped this book to read and review...


Pretty soon Charlotte's wails of woe turned to 'oohs' and 'awws' as the story of a very special teddy, and a truly awesome little boy unfolded.

Errol (read by me in a strong Liverpudlian accent for some reason) loves his teddy Thomas dearly. They do everything together. Tuck up in bed at night and cuddle, they play in the mud planting seeds, and they love a sneaky jam sandwich in Errol's treehouse at lunchtime.

But on a trip to the park, Thomas's usual smile is replaced by a frown. Thomas has a secret you see, and he's actually very worried about telling Errol because it might mean they can't be friends any more.

You see Thomas is really Tilly, and has always felt that he's not a boy bear, but a girl bear.

Errol is a superstar, why would Thomas's (now Tilly's) gender make any difference to their friendship at all?

Along with his best friend, Errol and Tilly have a slap-up teatime treat to celebrate their friendship and Errol's extremely mature approach to letting Tilly be herself and loving her for what she is and who she is.

Wow. Where do you start with this one? Children will actually love this story and will fall in love with Thomas / Tilly but adults will want to hug Errol and wish the world was populated by a zillion more boys and girls like him.

Subtle messages about gender, being happy in your own skin and of course the underpinning message about strong friendships and love are woven together with care and delicacy.

So not just your average teddy bear book, but something rather special and worth taking a look at.

Charlotte's favourite bit: Thomas (now Tilly) subtly moving her bow from a bow tie to a hair-bow.

Daddy's favourite bit: Strong clear messages dealing with tricky subjects, delivered in a rather touchingly beautiful way. Hooray for Errol. If just one kid in the world can read this book and understand why we think he's the coolest kid on the block, then it will have admirably done its job.

(Kindly sent to us for review by Bloomsbury Children's Books)

"Introducing Teddy"

Written by Jessica Walton

Illustrated by Dougal MacPherson

Published by Bloomsbury Publishing

Publication Date: 2nd June 2016

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