Thursday, December 12, 2013

The gift of giving.....

Quote of the Day!

"I heard the bells on Christmas Day    
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"
                        ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Title:  The Teddy Bear
Author and Illustrator: David McPhail
Ages: 4-8

 This is a story that most children will be able to identify with if they have a most favourite toy or blankie that they love ... literally... to pieces.  The little boy in the story has his most cherished teddy beside him at all times.  They are inseparable, and even if the family goes away on a trip, teddy goes along too.  On one such trip the family stops in a diner to refuel and sadly the little boy's teddy is accidentally left behind and then tossed out in the dumpster.  "He lay squashed in a dark, smelly place, even though he had a fine fur coat he was beginning to get a chill."

A forsaken, homeless man, searching for his next meal, rescues the abandoned teddy and claims him as his own.  Then strangely enough, one day in the park the little boy spots his beloved teddy on a bench and is delights to have him back once again in his life.

The little boy notices the despair and anguish on the poor homeless man's face when the man suddenly realizes what is happening with his teddy.  The little boy happily hands over his most valued treasure as a gift to the heavyhearted, dispossessed man knowing how much the old man cares for the teddy bear and how much it means to him.

The pen-and-watercolour illustrations add so much sub-text to the story.  They are filled with soft shading and cross-hatching making them look vintage and inviting the reader to be present in the story.   This wonderful tale of compassion will bring a tear to your eye and a smile to your face as you realize what a sacrifice this little boy is making to bring a poor, rejected outcast some happiness and joy by relinquishing his teddy bear over to him. Teddy is the winner in this tale because he never loses that feeling of being special and loved by both the little boy and the homeless man.

About the author and illustrator:

David McPhail has been drawing since he was two years old. When he was a child, he used to draw on everything from paper bags to walls! Today he lives in the town he grew up in, Newburyport, Massachusetts. He is married and has four children. In The Dream Child, the title character looks very much like his daughter, Jaime. McPhail says he has drawn his children so often that it just comes out in his characters!
McPhail is best known for his animal characters like pigs and bears, in such books as Pig Pig Grows Up and Lost!. He feels that an animal can do things that would be too scary for a child to do. McPhail often visits classrooms. He tells young artists to "draw from life and be true to yourself".

  • After he finished high school, McPhail played in a rock and roll band.
  • He writes and draws in a studio in his attic.
  • He has been a member of the Riverview Pizza Bowling Team in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

                       Book Review Rating:  8  (Fantastic!)
Read on an read always!  Have a splendid day everyone.
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