Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Legend of the Teddy Bear

The Legend of the Teddy Bear

Frank Murphy
Illustrator:  Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 4 to 6
Sleeping Bear Press, 2000   ISBN: 978-1585360130

It seems quite right that one of the most beloved of children’s toys, the teddy bear, should be named after a man who loved children and who in fact had six children of his own. Full of life, an intellectual, and highly active, President Theodore Roosevelt ended up giving his name to the toy because he once spared the life of a young bear when he was on a hunting expedition.

This act of kindness moved the whole country and inspired a husband and wife to create a stuffed bear toy which "a child could squeeze and hug while drifting off to sleep." This they did, and with the president’s permission the toymakers called their new toy "Teddy’s Bear" in honour of the president.

This heartwarming story not only tells the wonderful story of the teddy bear, a toy beloved by millions of children all over the world, but it is also an excellent tribute to a man who loved and believed in protecting the environment, who was a great reader and writer, who was greatly admired in his own lifetime, and who could not kill a defenseless bear who had no chance of escape.