Everyone will be able to relate to the feelings in this book - the terrible shame we feel when being desperate to fit in, we hide some aspect of ourselves. Freddy is Jonah’s favourite soft toy but he is worried about taking him on the school Teddy Bears’ Picnic, because he is not a teddy and the others might laugh at him.
Although the themes of individuality, friendship and inclusion are powerfully presented in this story, they do not overwhelm it. The plot is compelling with the tension building strongly as Jonah tries desperately to come up with a solution to his dilemma. We share Jonah’s apprehension as with “a deep breath”, he pulls “Freddy out from his hiding place”. Jonah’s quick thinking leads to a happy ending which is empowering to all children, who are sensitive about being different.
The gentle colours and sympathetic illustrations enhance the experience of reading this book. It could be used 1:1 to encourage a lonely child or used as a basis for a class study on these issues. The very useful teacher notes and resources, available on the EK Books website, provide great ideas for activities covering many curriculum areas.
Title: Freddy the Not-Teddy
Author: Kristen Schroeder
Illustrator: Hilary Jean Tapper
Publisher: E K Books
Format: Hardback picture book
Age Range: Preschool and Primary
Do you have any advisory warnings? No
Reviewer: Carola Crawford, English teacher, Karanga Mai Young Parents’ College
How are you recommending this book? Highly Recommended
Opening sentence: Freddy was Jonah’s FAVOURITE.