Teddy One-Eye: The autobiography of a teddy bear by Gavin Bishop, Random House, 2014
Gavin Bishop is one of our most beloved authors and illustrators and he has a new book out. It feels like a brother or sister to his fabulous memoir Piano Rock. I met a number of teachers on my tour who have used Piano Rock a lot with their classes. I can see why.
Like Piano Rock, the new book is gorgeously produced by Random House (it is hard cover) and has equally beautiful illustrations. Illustrations that belong in the time of the teddy (the 1950s)!
The book is an autobiography of a teddy, but it is also an autobiography of a boy (partly Gavin) as well as being a time machine as you get to go back to another time. I loved that! Boy gets to read Janet and John books (just like I got to read Janet and John when I was little). He gets to go the diary with his pocket money when he was 6. He loves doing spelling (just like I did!). He gets to eat homemade (not shop bought!!!!) Louise cake, beetroot chutney (well it got made in the kitchen even if he didn’t eat it himself), and roast mutton.
You even get bits of history in this back-in-time travel. Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing reach Mt Everest’s peak and Yvette William’s is New Zealand’s first woman to get an Olympic medal. There is even teddy-bear history to be discovered too! 2002 was marked as the 100th anniversary of the first teddy bear made.
Teddy One-eye is special because there is a special story story about him (this may or may not be true!). I love the way the Grandmother reminds everyone that Teddy One-eye is special and he needs to be looked after well. The teddy certainly knows what is going on in the world around him and he gets to be very good at reading. Boy loves him, then little baby brother loves him — but he gets to spend days or years or months in all kinds of surprising places (the pot cupboard, a plastic bag).
Reading this book means you get to do all kinds of wonderful things: fall in love with a raggety (at times) teddy bear, go on adventures and go back in time. I loved the way this book made me think about my own toys and my own childhood and what I loved to do and what was important. It has scary bits, funny bits and even slightly sad bits.
Bravo Gavin Bishop! This book is a treasure trove. I loved it very much indeed.