In David McPhail's The Teddy Bear a young boy looses his beloved teddy bear in a diner. The lost bear, taken out with the trash, is adopted by a homeless man. At first the bear misses the boy, but starts to enjoy life in the city with his new companion. One day, many months later, the boy sees the bear, left alone on a bench by the man and reclaims him. When the homeless man finds his bear missing he becomes very upset. Showing compassion and kindness, the boy returns the special friend to his new owner.
It might be hard to picture my own child willingly giving up his precious possession to another person, but that makes the reading of this story all the more important. I was expecting this to be another lost and found toy book, in which a child is joyfully reunited with his precious object and all is well with the world, but it is more than that. This is a gentle story about kindness, loneliness and the need for us to reach out to each other. The boy's willingness to approach the homeless man when his parents simply want to run away reminds us that children often look past rough appearances to see the beautiful.
Those of us who live in the city are always reminded of those living without a home of their own. The Teddy Bear is a lovely way of initiating a conversation with your child about the needs of others.
Read an interview with the author.
On the theme of homelessness, read The Family Under the Bridge.
On the theme of lost toys, read La La Rose.
On the theme of lost bears in the city read, When You Meet a Bear on Broadway.
Big Kid says: Why did the man want to keep the bear?