Thursday, November 13, 2008

Book Week: Teddy Robinson

The Teddy Robinson stories were written in the 1950s by Joan G. Robinson, chronicling the real-life adventures the author's young daughter, Deborah, had with her teddy bear, Teddy Robinson. These stories are perfect to read aloud to young children who are ready for longer stories. Each story stands alone, and takes about 10 minutes to read out loud. Almost every page spread has a pencil drawing to keep a child's interest.The stories are told from Teddy Robinson's point of view. He is a member of the family, very much loved, and he loves the family right back. Teddy Robinson's adventures are simple. One night he is left out in the garden. One day he goes to dance class with Deborah. Yet another day Deborah has a tea party. Even though Teddy Robinson belongs to a girl, the stories will appeal to young boy listeners, because Deborah has a boy cousin who appears from time to time, and because Teddy Robinson is such a likable fellow that anyone would enjoy his antics.

Teddy Robinson is a complete character. He is sometimes brave, sometimes jealous, sometimes tired, and sometimes proud. The stories are written in a 1950s voice, and feature simple every day life. For example, the story "Teddy Robinson Keeps House" begins:

"One day Teddy Robinson sat on the kitchen table and watched everyone being busy. Mummy was cutting bread, Deborah was putting some flowers in a vase of water, and Daddy was looking for a newspaper that had something in it that he specially wanted to read. Teddy Robinson wished he could look busy, too, but he couldn't think of anything to be looking busy about."

Teddy Robinson does manage to find something to be busy about when Deborah and Mummy put him in charge of looking over the grocery delivery while they run an errand. Teddy Robinson is proud of his responsibility, and says to himself "I don't care how many people come and ask me to picnics or parties today. I just can't go to any of them. I'm far too busy."

The stories have been published in several different collections under different titles. From my brief look at Amazon, it doesn't look like any of the collections are currently in print, but many are available used. The Teddy Robinson Storybook , which we own, seems to have the most stories, but this paperback version by Kingfisher Classics , which I have purchased to give as a gift, has quite a few, too. The two books will have mostly the same stories, so don't purchase both expecting them to be two different books.