Review: Introducing Teddy

This book struggles, but could be reassuring for children that know an adult who is transitioning.

Introducing Teddy: a gentle story about gender and friendship by Jessica Walton, illustrated by Dougal MacPherson.
Bloomsbury, New York, 2016.
Picture book, 32 pages.
Not leveled.
NOTE: This is a work of fiction although I’m not reviewing it on Fiction Friday.

The story of a young child’s imaginary friend who transitions.

Introducing Teddy resized

I appreciated what this book is trying to do, but we still didn’t like it much.  Picture books are hard to write, and Walton has good moments, but at points her text is too wordy.  Not that the text-to-picture ratio is off, but the dialogue in particular betrays an awkwardness and lack of flow.  Minor character Ava is building a robot that reoccurs and complicates the plot for no reason.

Great illustrations could have compensated and elevated this book into a recommended read.  However, the illustration fell flat.  Tilly (the teddy bear who is deadnamed in the title), is the main character here.  Her emotions are crucial to the story, but barring that we should at least feel some empathy for her.

However, Tilly’s expressions are difficult to read.  I had to go over the story several times before finding any cues about her emotions.  Kids aren’t likely to pick up on these nuances.  In our home, the kids didn’t care about this book, and it didn’t meet our goal.

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