Teddy and Co by Cynthia Voigt, illustrated by Paola Zakimi
Age Range: 7 – 10 years | Grade Level: 2 – 5 | Hardcover: 192 pages | Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (November 1, 2016)
About Teddy and Co
Fans of classic toy stories like Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo, and Toys Go Out by Emily Jenkins will love Teddy & Co. by Newbery Medalist Cynthia Voigt.
Winner of a Parents Choice Silver Honor Award
Teddy is a thinking kind of bear. Of all his friends, he does the most wondering. He lives with a ragtag group of lost toys—a very hungry snake, an elephant who likes to bake, two charmingly silly pigs, and a reclusive penguin—and they all bump along happily together. But their peaceful world gets shaken up when new toys arrive—first a rabbit, who is not as soft and floppy as he looks, and then a beautiful doll with royal ambitions. Will the newcomers learn to fit into the community? Or will the community be forever changed by them? As Teddy the philosopher would answer: Yes.
Cynthia Voigt’s charming tale of community and compromise comes alive in the adorable pictures from Paola Zakimi. Fully illustrated and lovingly designed, this book would make a terrific gift or family read-aloud.
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My Thoughts on Teddy and Co
This book reminded me of Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne or Old Mother West Wind by Thornton W. Burgess. It has that same calm, sweet quality to it that used to permeate classic children’s stories. It threw me off at first because the story is slow and you don’t know when or if a purpose will emerge.
This is the kind of story that grows on you the more you read it. It doesn’t follow the traditional story arc where events build on each other until you reach the climax. Instead, it’s more of an “and then” story. The characters bop along, doing one thing and then another—the events don’t lead into each other and they usually aren’t connected. They go exploring, and then they have a picnic, and then they go swimming, and then…you get the point.
It’s not a bad thing, though. This is the kind of book kids love. I read all sorts of books like this when I was a kid and now my own kids are more than happy to read a book about the generally happy existence of a group of toys on an island.
Teddy is a philosophical bear. He likes to think. Umpah likes to bake muffins, which Sid likes to eat. Peng wants to be left alone, while Zia loves to clean and Prinny just wants everyone to pay attention to her. Mr. B and Clara brought something different to the island and at first you aren’t sure if they will learn to fit in at all.
In the end, my kids adored Teddy and Co and it grew on me as well. I loved the sweet, nostalgic feel to it and my kids are anxiously waiting for another book featuring the toys.
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