Sunday, July 7, 2013

Book Review: Corduroy by Don Freeman

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Heart warming yet simple tale
Cons: None remembered from childhood or found now
The Bottom Line
Bear seeks lost button
The result may surprise you
And will make you smile

The Classic Tale of a Bear and His Button

Recently, I reminded of the picture book classic Corduroy.  I have fond memories of this Don Freeman classic from my own childhood, and rereading it as an adult still brings a smile to my face.

Corduroy is a teddy bear that lives in a department store.  Day after day he waits for someone to buy him and take him home.  One day, a little girl wants to buy him, but her mother won't let her because Corduroy is missing a button.  Can Corduroy find it?

The book was first published in 1968, but the illustrations make it feel older than that.  There is something about them that makes me think of the 50's.  Maybe you could say early 60's based on some of the styles.  Either way, it's not a book written today.

And yet the story and the pictures are truly timeless.  Styles might change, but the artwork is simple and endearing.  Don Freeman not only wrote the story but illustrated it, and his artwork is realistic.  There are few colors on the pages, but you can look for detail in some of them for quite some time.

The story itself is a fairly simple quest story as Corduroy heads out in the department store at night trying to find his missing button.  The rest is rather funny, although it's more grin than laugh out loud funny.  How Corduroy misinterprets what he sees is certainly in line with the way kids see the world, so they will relate to that.

What surprised me as an adult is how simple the story really is.  If you'd asked me, I would have said it was longer and more complex, but I certainly didn't think anything was missing when I reread it.  Most of the pages have only a few lines of text to go with the illustration, so you'll be through with it in no time.  And the kids will still love it.

And you can't help but smile at the ending of the book.  There's nothing like a little love to warm the heart.

It's funny because I know I read Don Freeman's other book about Corduroy, but I don't think I've ever read anything else he did.  Back then, like now, I'd try to track down all the books by an author I liked.  I wonder why I never did with him.  I'll have to correct that in the near future.

But for the time being, start your Don Freeman library with Corduroy.  Even over 40 years later, it's a book your kids will love.

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