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THE TEDDY BEAR by David McPhail


by David McPhail & illustrated by David McPhail

Age Range: 3 - 7

Pub Date: May 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-8050-6414-1
Publisher: Henry Holt

Lost and found and lost and returned—this teddy brings a lot of happiness and leaves sadness in its wake, but McPhail’s (Mud Is Cake, p. 425, etc.) tale turns on the perceptiveness and sensitivity of a young boy. That young lad had a teddy bear, his favorite toy of all, and he and the teddy lived in a warm and protective home (gorgeously drawn in hearty and touching watercolor and ink). The teddy is lost in a moment of forgetfulness and is found by a homeless man who tucks the bear away in his pocket. Gradually, the boy adjusts to not having his bear and gradually, the bear adjusts to his new circumstances. The man takes the bear everywhere, just like the boy once did. On a spring day, the man put the bear on a park bench while he did some scavenging nearby, and the boy and his parents happen past. The boy is exultant (his parents are nonplused), and he sweeps the bear up and walks away with him. Then he hears a mournful howl. It is the homeless man, a man who has lost his best friend. The boy returns to the man, aware of what has happened: “ ‘Is this your bear?’ the little boy asked. . . . ‘Thank you,’ he said to the little boy. ‘I don’t know what I’d do without him.’ ‘I know what you mean,’ said the little boy.’ ” Although this is a story about kindness, love, and compassion, it is also a worthy reminder that the down-and-out have feelings and needs just as keen as the reader’s. (Picture book. 3-7)