Cynthia Voigt‘s Teddy & Co. (2016, Alfred A. Knopf) is quite something. I was intrigued by Paola Zakimi‘s cover illustrations, and now that I’m finished with the book I’m not quite sure what to think of it.
So Teddy is a teddy bear who spends his life in his wagon. He lives with Umpah, an elephant who is always baking delicious muffins. They live in this diverse community of animals who would normally never get along – and are honestly somewhat difficult to keep up with sometimes. Yet, somehow a snake, pigs, a penguin – and the new arrivals to town (a bunny and a doll) – work together to create something really special for Teddy, who is always wondering why things are the way they are.
In fine listicle form, here’s what I like about the book:
- The book’s mysteriousness is both alluring and quite strange.
- Teddy’s a thinker. We need more children’s books that promote quiet contemplation.
- Voigt manages to put together quite the cast of characters: a bear, a snake, an elephant, pigs, penguins, a bunny, and a doll who wants to be queen. What could possible go wrong?!?
- The characters have imagination. We should all learn from these animals’ abilities to plan something for a rainy day.
- Voigt highlights humans’ most admirable qualities and their most awful vices.
- The baking elephant Umpah’s muffins make me dangerously hungry – and he makes a lot of different kinds in the book!
I’m going to share this book with my friend’s seven-year-old daughter to see what she thinks about the book. This was one of those books that I finished and could not quite decide if I loved it or not. Maybe she can help me figure this out!
Please let me know what you think about Teddy & Co. in the comments below!