Written by Janet Slingsby, Illustrated by Tony Morris
Scholastic Inc., 1999
One wintry night, Teddy Bear couldn’t get to sleep.
The plot in a nutshell: A teddy bear dreams of adventures with wild bears.
Teddy looks at a book that features pictures of bears in the wild and he thinks that being a real bear would be the most exciting thing ever. As he thinks about it, his eyes start to droop. A splash of cold water surprises him and he finds himself beside a river where two baby grizzly bears are helping their mother fish for salmon. They invite him to help, but he’s not a fan of raw fish. The sun dries out his wet fur and suddenly he sees kangaroos hop past. He meets a koala bear, who offers him a eucalyptus leaf, but Teddy is not a fan of those either, even though he’s now pretty hungry and thirsty. Then he runs into a sloth bear, who is eating ants and termites from the ground. (Needless to say, Teddy has no interest in those.) He continues to meet other species of wild bears but none of their lives measure up to what Teddy was hoping for and when he wakes up back at his own home, he’s thankful to be right where he is.
Author Janet Slingsby weaves a lot of information about several different types of bears into this fanciful teddy bear tale. As Teddy meets the other bears, he learns about their international habitats and diets and sees how different they are from himself and from each other, showing the interesting ways that animals can be similar and yet so different. Panda makes a point of telling Teddy that he is not a bear, which is one of those facts that seems to get questioned and debated every few years. The illustrations, from Tony Morris, really showcase the differences in the species and their homes and it’s especially useful to have Teddy in all the pictures to keep a sense of perspective. This would make a good book for kids interested in bears.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that life has a tendency to put people in the environment that is best suited for them.