Exisle Publishing, 2014
hbk., 32pp., RRP $A19.99
Anzac Ted’s a scary bear
And I can tell you why.
He’s missing bits, his tummy splits,
He only has one eye.
His fur is torn and dirty
And he hasn’t any clothes.
He doesn’t hear with just one ear;
He should have two of those.
His head is kind of wobbly
And his legs are rather slow.
Perhaps it’s due to one or two
Encounters with a foe!
So begins an enchanting story-in-rhyme about a very special teddy bear – one that doesn’t win prizes in the toy show and sometimes makes the other children cry when he turns up for Show’n’Tell. He isn’t shiny and new and he can’t change into something else and the other kids in the class just ridicule him. But Anzac Ted has a story – a story that no other child’s toy has about why is he so old and torn and how brave he has been.
With a gentle touch on both text and illustration, newcomer Belinda Landsberry has crafted a delightful story about a bear who has seen better (or worse) days that is just perfect to introduce the youngest children to the stories of ANZAC and why there is such a focus on this special day on the calendar. With a clever shift of colour tone between now and then, there is a seamless transition between the two eras of Anzac Ted’s life tied together with the love and reverence with which he has been passed down through the family and clearly will continue to be so. The unconditional love of the boy for his teddy is obvious and it remains constant despite the opinions of his peers. Perhaps if his story were told, Ted would have all the votes at the toy show. But really, some heroes don’t want, need or get medals or accolades.
On my Pinterest board Remembering Gallipoli I’ve pinned over 150 titles of books about World War I for the primary-aged student and Anzac Ted is one of just a handful suitable for sharing and exploring with the K-2 brigade to help them understand. It offers just a broad overview from a family perspective – Grandpa Jack leaves home and even though he’s 21, his wife pops his childhood teddy is his case … “For luck.” She said, “take Anzac Ted. I know he’ll bring you home.” And even though we think of soldiers as being big and brave and daring, there are times when they are lonely and afraid and Anzac Ted brings them comfort and courage. There are teachers’ notes written by the author, herself a primary school teacher.
This is a must-have in your collection.