A child extols a beloved teddy bear, Stripy Ted.
Just as Pooh Bear is anthropomorphized in his stories as he plays with Christopher Robin, Cleminson’s illustrations, which have the look of watercolor and ink, clearly depict Ted as a sentient, animate toy. Another literary antecedent, The Velveteen Rabbit, comes closer to the heart of Heapy’s story, as the rhyming, first-person text details the adventures the child narrator (who appears white and male) has with the teddy bear. Bit by bit, their play renders the toy literally “loved to bits.” The soft visual aesthetic of the art, with a style akin to Lauren Castillo’s, eases any sense of foreboding readers might feel as Ted’s stripes fade and he loses first an ear, then an eye, then his limbs. When the narrator’s mother asks, “Shall I mend him?” the child doesn’t hesitate to say no. “I liked him better. I could hold him in one hand. He fit just right, just here,” reads the text in a spread near the book’s end with a close-up illustration of the two cuddled up. The bear is well-loved and looks it—a fate that’s likely to befall this book, as well.
Not too shabby at all. (Picture book. 3-6)