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Toys are real

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Speaking of The Velveteen Rabbit, there are several books that focus on the idea of toys (generally stuffed animals) as “real.” Like the Toy Story movies, in these works the stuffed animals have feelings and concerns. Most of these worries focus on their human owner not buying them, loving them enough, or giving them away. As a lot of little kids are, my daughter is imaginative and empathetic. She gets worried about portrayals of sad stuffed animals, dinosaurs, monsters, humans, trucks, etc. She worries when her stuffed animals are not given enough attention. She makes them take turns at school, lest they be left out. She got angry at her monkey the other day for “eating” (just to be clear: fake eating, it is a stuffed monkey) her food. Imagination and empathy are great, but . . . If she brings one monkey to bed, all of a sudden there are seven monkeys — because baby monkey cannot be without mommy monkey and mommy monkey needs daddy monkey and daddy monkey needs the other baby monkey, suddenly an extensive family has taken up residence, leaving little room for my daughter. Now you may be thinking, stop getting her monkeys or tell her to leave some of the monkeys out of the bed. We are trying (and we aren’t the only monkey givers in her life)! It can be hard when your daughter has read that the much-desired monkey is going to sob when left at the store (or alone on its shelf at home) and face a life of gloom. See Don Freeman’s Corduroy. In case you think I am reading too much into it, here is a picture book illustrator’s (Neva Austrew) analysis of poor poor Corduroy when the mother refuses to buy him: “His actions and inner dialogue throughout the story mimic what a little child might feel in a similar strange situation, with no friends or family to guide them. The feeling is fear.” The solution? Buying the bear. Photos of monkeys and sad stuffed animals to come!

One response »

  1. Pingback: Poor fire-breathing dragon. « Children's books

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