Mick Inkpen's Threadbear
Children's book review by Jane Finch
A Lovely Picture Book That Shows Dreams Can Come True
Threadbear belonged to a little boy named Ben. The bear’s name describes him very well. He was old and worn, he had a paw which didn’t match and a button for an eye.
Although Threadbear was well loved by Ben, the little bear was unhappy. He had too much stuffing inside him, which meant his arms and legs were too hard. Most importantly, he had a squeaker in his tummy that had never squeaked.
Threadbear consulted all the other toys about his problem, but all they could suggest is that he speak to Father Christmas. The only way to find Father Christmas, they tell him, is to go to the North Pole.
It seems the only way to the North Pole is up the chimney. So Threadbear climbs up the chimney and waits and waits until finally Father Christmas arrives. He takes the bear for a ride on his sleigh to the top of the world where the squeaker trees grow.
Threadbear wakes up outside in the garden and thinks it must all have been a dream. He is grubby with soil and soot and so Ben washes him in the washing machine.
As he is hanging on the washing line to dry, Threadbear begins to notice that he feels different. His arms and legs feel softer and his tummy feels nice.
Ben thinks his bear looks much more cuddly and gives him a squeeze, and everyone is surprised when the bear’s squeaker squeaks really loudly.
Threadbear is really happy.
This is a book with fold-out pages with lovely illustrations by Mick Inkpen, the author.
I remember really enjoying this book with my son. Threadbear is adorable with his button eye, and descriptions like “when he looked through the button he saw four pictures instead of one” give a delightful insight into the little bear’s world.
This book was really popular in our family and read frequently. Here is a little bear that is clearly well loved because he is so old and well worn. Ben is happy with his bear, but Threadbear feels he is letting Ben down because his squeaker does not work.
He embarks on a daunting journey to try and resolve his problem. It is a clever twist that the reader is not clear whether the bear actually does go on the trip with Father Christmas, or whether it was a dream.
However, the crux of the story is that little bear goes in the washing machine and his stuffing shrinks, and then his squeaker works normally. So his problem is solved.
This was the bear’s one wish, and so this story is saying that sometimes wishes do come true. The way the other toys try to help is a really subtle way of emphasising how important it is to help one another.
Everyone will fall in love with Threadbear.
This book has won the Children’s Book Award.
Read more of Jane's reviews.
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