“Famous Bears & Friends” is a collection of teddy bear fiction and nonfiction stories, poems and songs. Winnie-the-Pooh rides a balloon, Corduroy takes an escalator and Paddington goes up in an elevator. Titanic bear descends into the icy Atlantic, and Kumataro orbits the earth on the NASA space shuttle. Readers can hum to the “Teddy Bears’ Picnic” or imagine the voice of a robotic bear singing in Japanese. There are the stories behind the stories,“Behind the Fur,” that tell how the authors of Pooh, Paddington and Corduroy came to write about a stuffed bear. How did teddy get his name? How do teddy bear artists tell if their bears should be boys or girls? What happens to a bear who has lost an eye or a snout? It’s all there…for readers of any age. (“Famous Bears & Friends” was published by Dutton Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers.) Chartreuse Touloose (left) was woven by Dianne Stott from the wool of a sheep named Eloise.
“Coleman offers a beautifully designed collection of teddy bear history and story…. This is a solid handsome collection for teddy bear lovers, children and adults alike.” Booklist
“This book is a must-have for teddy bear lovers of all ages.” BOSTON HERALD
“This treasury of the world’s favorite toy will delight and thrill bear enthusiasts of all ages.” www.wonderkorner.com
“I fell instantly in love with ‘Famous Bears & Friends. … This book, beautifully illustrated, is filled with a history of this favorite toy that will please all ages.” www.bookviews.com
“…an affectionate homage…a handsomely designed treasury.” Publishers Weekly
“This beautiful book gives your child a look at the stories behind the first teddy bear and other storybook bears we’ve come to love.” TEACHING K-8
In September, 1993, a tugboat pulled a barge away from a dock in New Jersey. barge carried metal containers, packed with cardboard boxes. Inside, thousands of teddy bears lay side by side—small bears as white as marshmallows and larger ones the color of cinnamon. Each bear wore a blue and red sweater with a diamond pattern on the front.
The bears were on their way to department stores in New England in time for the Christmas shopping season. As they passed the tip of Long Island, black clouds appeared on the horizon. There was a flash of lightning, a crack, and a low rumble. Waves jostled the tug and washed over the deck of the barge. The chains holding the metal containers squealed like pigs
A twelve-foot wave smashed into the barge and rolled over the deck. Chains snapped, and thirty-one containers slid into the ocean. As the containers sank, their lids came off. THe cardboard boxes inside rose to the surface and bobbed like apples.
Soon the cardboard softened and sank, leaving thousands of teddy bears behind. They rode the waves, up the front and down the back. They twirled, crisscrossed, and bumped heads. Some stared at the grizzly sky, others at the seaweed far below. As the storm moved out to sea, the slick of bears made its way toward the shores of a small town in Rhode Island.
Waves crashed onto the beach and slid backward. Each one left dozens of bears on the sand. People arrived from near and far to see the furry castaways. They brought large garbage bags, filled them with soggy bears, and carried them home.
The bears swirled in washing machines, thumped in dryers, and hung by their ears from clotheslines. When they were dry, they were wrapped in Christmas paper and hidden in closets, or mailed to friends and grandparents far away. Many of the bears were donated to homeless shelters and day-care centers.
Everyone in town kept at least one teddy bear. Today, they sit on mantlepieces and television sets, next to the cash register at the local garage, and near the teller at the bank. Occasionally, a stranger will ask, “Why do you have a teddy bear? The answer is always the same: “The Teddy Bear Invasion! Haven’t you heard of the Teddy Bear Invasion?”
Copyright © 2021 Janet Wyman Coleman - All Rights Reserved.