Teddy One-Eye: The Autobiography of a Teddy Bear, by Gavin Bishop (Random House NZ Children’s, RRP $35):
Award-winning writer and illustrator Gavin Bishop has produced what is likely to become a well-loved classic in the adorable Teddy One-Eye, The Autobiography of a Teddy Bear.
Our hero, Teddy One-Eye has had a rough life, being dragged around, chewed and trampled. Over time he’s lost an eye and sometimes even gets left outside at night. But all those chew marks and worn patches, even his missing eye, just prove one thing: he is loved.
This is the story of Teddy One-Eye, and through that story we also learn the life story of the boy who loves him, known in the book simply as “Boy”.
Teddy’s story starts in 1950, when he first meets Boy and for a few years, they are inseparable. Naturally, Boy grows up and Teddy gets left behind for a while, packed away in a suitcase for 17 years.
He is later discovered by Boy’s own children, and his adventures begin all over again.
Through Teddy’s life story, we get the story of the tragedies and triumphs that happened to Boy, his family and the country during that time, from Hillary and Tenzing climbing Everest to the Canterbury quakes.
It’s a sweet story of growing up and growing older, and of the cycles that repeat in our lives as our own children make their way in life the say way we did years before. It’s also a memoir of the writer’s own life, from growing up in Kingston, Southland (and a few mishaps with fireworks and stolen cars), to moving to Invercargill, then on to Christchurch before becoming a writer, an artist and a dad.