Review Blog

Jan 08 2015

The Corduroy books by Don Freeman

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Corduroy. Penguin, 2014 c1968. ISBN 9780140501735
A Pocket for Corduroy. 1978. ISBN 9780140503524
Voted in the Top 100 Books for Children in the National Education Association 2007 online poll, and again in Top 100 Picture Book poll 2012, School Library Journal, and still not only in print but becoming available in various formats, Corduroy was initially rejected by Freeman's publishers, Viking Press. What a loss it would have been had they not reviewed their decision at their second opportunity. Freeman's story of the endearing teddy who wants a home and the little girl Lisa, who sees in him a special friend, has remained a constant favourite for children around the world for almost forty years.
Corduroy is a little bear on a shelf in a department store and longs to go home with someone special. When Lisa and her mother come in to do some shopping, Lisa desperately wants to be that someone special but her mother (as mothers do) says she has already spent enough money and that besides, Corduroy is missing a button from his overalls. Corduroy is very sad and spends the night roaming the department store searching for a button, having some minor adventures and finally being thwarted by the security guard. Undeterred by her mother's negative response, Lisa goes home and carefully counts out the money in her piggy bank and triumphantly returns to the store the following day to buy her little bear. Taking him home to his new room and his very own bed, Lisa sews a button onto Corduroy's overalls and cements the beginning of their friendship and hugs.
As a passionate arctophile (a condition inherited from my Father Bear) this was always one of my favourite titles to share with small people. In my Year 1 classes years ago, our introduction to information report genre writing was centred around literary offerings about bears and this title and its followup were always warmly received. Later in the library, I have continued to use this whenever doing a compare-and-contrast current picture books with classic ones. The story has never had a negative response from my audience. The story was successfully made into a film version by Weston Woods in their valuable series - do spend a few moments to relive the magic by following the link.
You may also enjoy these comments by Don Freeman about The Story About Corduroy. I am personally very excited to see that the Puffin Storytime book and CD series include both the titles and they are already on their way to my shelves.
Sue Warren

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