Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Gem of a Picture Book!

I've got awesome kids. Even though they're older and pretty advanced readers, my kids still love reading picture books. I think that's great, especially since that's the genre I write most. Yesterday Nathan read The Runaway Teddy Bear to us in class. I think I might have gotten this one from the Salvation Army. Knowing me, I just saw the bear and grabbed it without even looking at what it was about. My daughter didn't recognize it, so I don't think it's one the girls picked up during their time in private school. I must have grabbed it at the thrift store, and probably for a dime.

But wow -- what a dime well spent! This is just the cutest book. It was written and illustrated by Ginnie Hofmann and published by Random House in 1986. The pictures are bright, colorful, and full of detail.

The story about about a little teddy bear named Arthur who belongs to a boy named Andy. Andy likes playing with his friends. Arthur doesn't like being left behind all the time, so he decides to run away and live with real bears. He packs his bags and tiptoes out of the house to set out on his adventure. He soon finds himself living among real bears and doing all the things bears do -- like sleeping, looking for food, eating, and running away from people. Arthur tries hard to keep up with the bears, but he can't. He falls into the river and becomes lost. Soon Andy comes along and rescues the poor, little teddy bear. They return home, both happy to be reunited. 

One of the best illustrations in this book is when Arthur enters the forest. All the forest animals are peeking out from behind the trees, staring at the little, teddy bear with great big eyes. It's hilarious. Another funny one is when he gets scowled by a big moose. Then a porcupine chases him up a tree and eats Arthur's lunch. Great illustrations! However, my favorite one is when Arthur and the bears hit up an unattended campsite. The picnic table was set for lunch and the bears just go nuts gobbling everything up. Funny stuff.

After Nathan read this book, I decided to look it up online and found that Ginnie Hofmann wrote five books in this series. This particular one is the second book. In the first book, Who Wants an Old Teddy Bear?, Andy's grandmother sends him Arthur for his birthday. He wanted a rocket, so he was pretty disappointed. But seeing there are more books in the series, I'm guessing Andy came to love little Arthur finally. I'll definitely be on the look-out for the other books in the series.

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