Review Blog

Jul 11 2016

Introducing Teddy: A story about being yourself by Jessica Walton

cover image

Ill. by Dougal MacPherson. Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781681192116
(Ages: 4-7) Recommended. Acceptance, Friendship, Gender, Transgender. This is a warm and simple story that deals with the sensitive social issue of gender identification and gender non-conformance. It cleverly uses a teddy as the character whose self-identity doesn't fit with his assigned sex, rather than a person, making it more approachable. However, it importantly uses people as the other characters, who show appropriate ways of responding to the teddy and his feelings and needs. Thomas the teddy and Errol play together every day, but Thomas is hiding a secret and is worried that if Errol knows, he won't want to be his friend anymore. When Errol assures Thomas he will always be his friend, Thomas bravely tells him that he has always felt like a girl teddy, not a boy teddy. Errol replies, 'I don't care if you're a girl teddy or a boy teddy! What matters is that you are my friend'. The book also has other subtle examples of children not conforming to traditional gender stereotypes (behaviour, play, appearance). The story implicitly emphasises, by example, that gender doesn't define who we are and that changing our name or appearance doesn't change who we are or what we like to do. It is not preachy, but encourages being easy-going and open about who we are.
This is written at an appropriate level for its target audience and will be indispensable for use with children who have transgender or gender non-conforming friends, classmates or family members, but also for reminding children that gender is just a label and reinforcing that there is not one way of being a girl or a boy. It might even be effective in getting a positive message across to parents about responding to their own child's self-identity. It is also a great springboard for classroom discussions around being a supportive, unconditional friend.
Nicole Nelson

BUY IT NOW ON booktopia
Archived Blog Entries
Latest News
CBCA shortlists 2017
2017 ABIA longlist
The Stella Prize shortlist for 2017
YA Book Prize 2017 shortlist
Reading Children's book prize shortlist
Indie Book Awards 2017
CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017 shortlist
CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2017 shortlist
School Library Association Information Book Award 2017
2017 UKLA Book Awards shortlists
National Simultaneous Storytime 2017

ReadPlus Features
Print similar authors bookmark
Read similar authors
How to find lesson plans
Sample theme animation

Promote Reading
Staff holiday reading list 2016
South Australian Christian Schools Conference 2016 - Library Displays
Display calendars
Science fiction and fantasy lists SAETA conference 2015
Value of School Libraries
Library, Reading development and the Internet
Free Rights of the Reader Poster
Reviews: Author index
Books for boys
Bookmark and poster templates