Book Review: Red Ted and the Lost Things

Filed under: That's Entertainment, Books for Kids, New In Pop Culture

Prepare to fall in love with Red Ted. Credit: Candlewick Press

Red Ted and the Lost Things
by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Joel Stewart (Candlewick, $17)

Corduroy. Don Freeman's sweet, stuffed-bear icon of the '60s is bound to come to mind when you begin reading "Red Ted and the Lost Things." Red Ted and Corduroy are both, obviously, cute, plush teddies. They both begin their stories feeling lost and alone on a shadowy shelf (Corduroy in a department store, Red Ted in a train station lost and found). They both take a leap of faith off that shelf into a strange and exciting new world, all in the name of a little girl's friendship. But those are all superficial similarities (and actually, the plots diverge quite a bit from there) -- the best point of comparison between the two books is in how much heart they both have.

Few picture book characters are as instantly lovable as Corduroy, but Red Ted gives him a run for the money. Joel Stewart's soft, trembly pencil work makes Red Ted look eminently huggable -- even in just two dimensions.

And when the bear speaks, you fall for him even more. Example: Talking of Stevie, the young girl who has lost him (and whom he has lost), he says, "She loves me as much as she loves cheese."

Ted has a little bit of Corduroy's adorable naiveté, but shows some street smarts as well. He also makes friends along the way – with a sad sack crocodile doll and a cat of vague intentions, both of whom are fascinating characters in their own right. Michael Rosen, the current Children's Laureate of Britain, knows how to give us a stunning amount of story in an economical amount of words, trusting Stewart's up-to-the-task illustrations to fill in any blanks. The result is a picture book that can not only be compared to a classic, but has a classic feel unto itself.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.