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Kathy Stinson. Illustrated by Stéphane Poulin.
Toronto, ON: Annick Press, 1988.
unpaged, cloth, $12.95.
ISBN 1-55037017-0. paper, $4.95. ISBN 1-55037-016-2. Distributed by Firefly Books. CIP.

Subject Headings:

Kindergarten-grade 2 / Ages 5-7

Reviewed by Jane M. Smith.

Volume 17 Number 1
1989 January

Teddy Rabbit concerns a pre-schooler, Tony, and his very special toy, Rabbit. Tony and his father go to the Teddy Bears' Picnic at Centre Island. Tony's fears begin on the first page when his mother tells him not to take Rabbit because he's "too much trouble" or "he might get lost." Tony also fears his rabbit will not be accepted at the Tedidy Bears' Picnic.

On the way to the picnic Rabbit is knocked out of Tony's arms in the crowded subway on to the "dark,dirty and dangerous" tracks. Tony is also anxious on the ferry. It should be an enjoyable experience, but he is afraid to stand near the railing for fear of dropping Rabbit. Other children on the boat have real teddy bears and he is still concerned that Rabbit will not be allowed at the picnic.

Stéphane Poulin's unique illustrations show excellent detail and talent and seem to reinforce the uneasy feeling that surrounds Tony - a faceless gardener with menacing clippers lurks behind a hedge; angry teddy bears carry Tony and Rabbit through the night sky; the subway seems dark and rather sinister; people's faces are at times expressionless, half-hidden or distorted.

The narrative and setting of Teddy Rabbit are interesting and effective. Tony is a very believable little child. Stinson and Poulin have created a modern, realistic story of childhood fears. However, I feel that five- and six-year-olds would not find Teddy Rabbit very enjoyable. The vocabulary is too difficult for independent reading by most six- and seven-year-olds and some of the illustrations could be upsetting to young children. Its appeal seems limited.

Jane M. Smith, Calico Public School, North York, ON.
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