Teddy bears! The very name conjures up cuddles, cosy friendship and comfort. Here are 11 teddy bear books your kid will love!
We at Buzzing Bubs have been in awe of teddy bears ever since the Care Bears hit our choice-starved cable networks back in the 1990s. A lot has changed since then – for one, we don’t believe in rainbow slides any more, seeing as we spend most of our time rubbing colour off walls but we still love reading stories to our children about cute and cuddly teddy bears. From the evergreen Winnie the Pooh and Otto the bear from Nazi-occupied Germany to the chic and urbane Berenstain bears, the teddy bear has come a long way from being named after US President Theodore Roosevelt. A champion of both constancy and change in children’s literature, here are 11 children’s books on teddy bears that you and your kids will fall in love with.
1. Hamish – The bear who found his child by Moira Munro
Hamish is a mischievous, independent little teddy bear who lives in a shop that has a secret door at the back. Every bear in the shop wants to find a little child to belong to but Hamish turns his nose up at such ambitions, until he sees a little girl come into the shop. So eager is he to be claimed by her that he does everything in his power to get her attention!
This book is illustrated with fun little details and has a wonderful narrative arc filled with surprises and layers. It can be read and enjoyed over and over again.
2. Otto, the autobiography of a teddy bear by Tomi Ungerer
This book is a must-have even if your child doesn’t love bears in particular. The story is told from the point of view of Otto, a bear who is ‘born’ when he is stitched together in a workshop in Germany and is bought by a Jewish family, whose boy David becomes his owner. David and his friend Oskar play with Otto. They accidentally spill ink on him and he gets a purple patch on his face. From teaching Otto how to type to getting him to play amusing tricks, the children have a great time with the bear and he loves them in return. One day, David comes back with a star sewn onto his jacket. David’s father is drafted in the German army. When hiding with David and his family in the basement, Otto is blown out of the place by a bomb. During the battlefield, he meets someone very interesting and from then on his life is a series of incredible moments and a surprise ending.
3. Bialosky’s Bedside Board Book set: “Betime”,”Bumblebees”,”Mouse”,”Big Mess” by Tedd Arnold
If any bear book will make even the sternest of persons go ‘aww’, it is this one. Bialosky is a stuffed teddy bear and the books are illustrated by means of stop-motion pictures of Bialosky cooking, getting ready to go out or whatever else he is doing. The books are based on a line of teddy bears manufactured in the US in the 1980s.
4. One Ted Falls Out of Bed by Julia Donaldson
All of Julia Donaldson’s books are full of imagination and rhythm. This book is not just about a bear, it is a bedtime counting book, and can work beautifully as a bedtime cue. When Ted falls out of his bed, he is taken on a grand adventure around his bedroom by two truant little mice. Over the course of the book, Ted climbs a mountain made of building blocks, zips by in fast cars and rides on a balloon. The story has a wonderful lilt to it, from an exciting start, a mid-point that reaches fever pitch and the end that tapers off beautifully so that the child reading it also winds down slowly. A wonderful bedtime ritual.
5. When I grow up – The Berenstain Bears by Mike Berenstain
Technically, the Berenstain Bears are grizzlies but many stories have teddy bears in them, including ‘The Wishing Star.’ The Berenstein Bears are wonderful books that have many different scenarios that will enrich children, right from keeping a room clean and becoming a brother to visiting the doctor and getting adjusted to a new baby sitter.
6. Corduroy by Don Freeman
Written and illustrated by Don Freeman, this is one of the most popular children’s books ever published and was voted as one of the Top 100 Picture Books of all time in School Library Journal’s 2012 poll. The story is about a bear named Corduroy who is on the toy shelf in a department store. One day, a girl comes with her mother to the shop and is keen to buy Corduroy but her mother tells her that he is missing a button and is not perfect. Corduroy then sets about trying to find his missing button. A delightfully illustrated book from start to finish; don’t forget to look for other picture books in the Corduroy series!
7. Paddington by Michael Bond
Michael Bond’s ‘A Bear Called Paddington’ is a classic chapter book and picture book, that captures all the honest fun and goodness of a bear called Paddington, who arrives in Paddington Station with only a suitcase, jars of marmalade and a label around his neck that asks people to look after him. He is adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Brown and Paddington begins a new life filled with adventures and a few misadventures! Paddington is in every way a huggable teddy bear and the picture book is both nostalgic and great fun to read. Look for other picture books on Paddington illustrated by R.W. Alley.
8. Pooh’s Easter Book by RH Disney
Who doesn’t love Pooh Bear? With his droopy darling voice and his love for honey, this is a bear who has populated our imagination for years now and he never gets old. This is classic children’s literature, enriched with stories, countless poems and stories published in the magazine Punch.
A.A. Milne modelled and named Christopher Robin in the stories after his own son, Christopher Robin Milne. All the characters, including Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore, Piglet and Kanga were named after his son’s stuffed toys. Winnie the Pooh debuted in a poem named ‘Teddy Bear.’ While the original stories by Milne are wonderful, do look for modern-day Pooh bear stories. Our favourite is Winnie the Pooh’s Easter Basket. Buy it just in time for Easter!
9. Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Nicola Baxter
This wonderful fairy tale is about a family of bears who go on a ramble through the forest, when a girl named Goldilocks finds herself in their house, sits on their chairs, eats their porridge and you know what happens next! The popular refrain “who’s been eating my porridge?” is great fun when read out aloud and this story never gets old with the children. The fairy tale has been retold many times, with even a version in which the baby bear asks Goldilocks to stay back and be his friend because he has no one to play with! Our favourite part about this book? The adorable baby bear, of course!
10. Enid Blyton’s The Night the toys had a party
One of the greatest and most prolific writers of children’s books, Enid Blyton stories on dolls, animals and toys are wonderfully imaginative and fun. While this book is for children who can read independently, it is also wonderful for younger children and is perfect to read aloud, as Enid Blyton is a master at writing with cadence and rhythm.
11. What Does My Teddy Do All Day? by Bruno Hachler
Which child isn’t curious about what their doll does all day and if their toys come alive at night? This story, told through wonderful rhymes, is about a little girl who tries her best to find out if her teddy bear comes alive at night and what he does when she’s not at home but he seems to be one up on her game and keeps her guessing. Funny and delightful, this book sees the girl hatching a plan to find out about what her teddy bear does all day!