Sunday, January 4, 2009

Book Review, Two Tough Teddies

Two Tough Teddies Book ReviewCan you remember your favourite teddy? Mine was called, (wait for it....), Ted. He had slightly dangly eyes, was practically bald and had lost an ear in a close encounter with our dog. But I loved that bear, and just thinking of him now has put a goofy smile on my face.

I suspect Kilmeny Niland loves teddies, too. Her picture book, Two Tough Teddies, was published by Little Hare Books in 2007. It is a lovely story about two abandoned teddy bears who set off to find someone to love them. To try to attract attention, Tilly and Gruffy make themselves tough, but their plan backfires. And then they meet Molly-Sue.

Niland's illustrations are so delightfully textured, you want to stroke the teddies' fur. There are lots of details for young eyes to notice, yet the pages are not cluttered. Like many good picture books, Niland has used repetition to give the story structure, and make it satisfying. It is very satisfying - I predict pre-schoolers will love listening to it being read aloud.

As a follow-up to this story, you could discuss "tough" with your children. What does tough mean? Who do they know that's tough? They could draw themselves being tough, talk about times when "tough" could be a problem, or make a wordle filled with "tough" words. Older children might like to research the history of the teddy bear. What has a teddy got to do with a US President? Are there any famous teddy bears in literature?

How about a Teddy Bear's Picnic? You could dress up your teddies as famous people, or give them beary cute names like Bearbarian or Bearacuda. What sort of food could you make for your picnic? Write some invitations, write a menu, or create a new recipe.

Your teddy will love you for it!

(Find more book reviews and literacy activities in the archive, or at


  1. Ted the Teddy Bear, I would like you to meet Big Bear the Teddy Bear and Little Bear, the slightly smaller Teddy Bear--I think we all named our stuffed animals like at some point! Of course, I had Big Bear until I was 13 and my dog got to him.

  2. Sounds like we are one bear short of a picnic!

  3. Great review of a very relevant topic for children - putting on airs to perhaps compensate for insecurities. What kid out there hasn't done that? This is a very common yet valuable theme in kids books - abandonment followed by the search for love. And as you astutely mention, this book is a good opportunity for parents to discuss these issues with children at an early age, in the context of something very dear to every child, their teddy bears. Thanks for the nice insight into the illustrations and text, as well.

  4. Great review and great site!

  5. Thanks so much for visiting Meg, Phred and Eyre.

  6. I just love the follow-up activities after reading...makes your review all that more interesting!

  7. I really believe in tying literacy to literature, Ms Lucy - sweetening the pill, maybe?

  8. Insecurity is a great topic at that age, and what a sweet way to approach it! I had a rough kindergarten because my family was a bit different, I could already read, a number of factors. I got by, but I think actually having book characters to relate to, talking to a parent about it, might have made it easier.

    My first teddy bear was Chocolate Brownie. He is about 5 inches tall. Maybe less. He's tiny!! He has a shirt with the number 3 on it and I won him at a fair when I was 3 or 4 years old, probably at the end of 3...since I'm a September birthday. Now I sleep with a bear named Daschell (after Hammit).

  9. Hi Ruth, so glad you and Chocolate Brownie could join our picnic!


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