Prince Peter and the Teddy Bear

David McKee, Author Farrar Straus Giroux $15 (32p) ISBN 978-0-374-36123-5
This wryly illustrated British import serves up a reminder that material wealth can't replace emotional warmth. All Prince Peter wants for his birthday is a teddy bear. After politely refusing each of the king and queen's pricier suggestions (e.g., a sword, a white horse, a throne), the prince receives a solid gold teddy bear, which he sets on his bureau; it's too ""hard and cold"" to take to bed. But the bear begs for a cuddle, which brings him to life, and the cuddle becomes contagious. The next day, Peter gives each parent a hug and calls them ""Dad"" and ""Mom"" instead of ""sir"" and ""ma'am,"" and they all behave as a real family at last. The sweetness of McKee's (Elmer) text is offset by his pointed, mischievous compositions, and the contrast between what's ""proper"" and what's human is strikingly funny: the characters almost seem to exhale in the closing scenes as they let go of their rigid ways. Electric hues--juxtaposing scarlet and fuchsia, intense blue and purple, and citrus green and vermilion--along with geometric overlapping planes and flattened perspective, lend a retro-1960s feel to the imagery. Although the royal family appears to belong to another era, they deliver a timeless message. Ages 3-6. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/1997
Release date: 08/01/1997
Genre: Children's
Hardcover - 27 pages - 978-0-374-36126-6
Hardcover - 24 pages - 978-986-7942-10-4
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