BROWN PAPER TEDDY BEAR

Catherine Allison, Author, Neil Reed, Illustrator , illus. by Neil Reed. Scholastic/Cartwheel $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-439-63900-2

The brown paper of the title refers not only to the wrapping that reveals an enchanted teddy bear, but also to the stock that this British team's oversize book is printed on—a fittingly tactile canvas for Reed's photorealistic paintings. After Jessica discovers a teddy bear one winter night, the stuffed fellow gallantly introduces himself—in a scene that possesses the spontaneity of a snapshot while capturing the aura of a dream. The two then fly through the night sky to a playroom where toys come to life. As her face literally glows with delight, Jessica drills with the toy soldiers and whirls around the floor with a beautiful, life-size doll until it's time for the teddy bear to see her safely home. Allison's occasionally cloying and wooden text does little more than act as a caption for the full-bleed illustrations ("She stopped to take a ride on the toy train. She put on the conductor's cap and sat on the engine"). Reed's artwork provides the magic, and Jessica, with her easy smile, gleeful gait and cozy red plaid pajamas, seems instantly familiar. Given what she experiences, readers will find her utterly enviable. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 12/20/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
Genre: Children's
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