Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ted Goes Wild by Michael Wagner

First published in 2011 by Penguin

I love toys and teddies and dolls and especially when they all come to life. But Ted Goes Wild left me a little cold.

I found it strangely lacking in warmth and engagement for a children's first chapter book. I really wanted to care about Ted, because he's a cute little teddy that goes out having wild adventures and being brave and tough. But I just didn't.

The actual text I found a little flat as well; I found I wanted the descriptions and the dialogue to have more imagination. This is so important for a first chapter book. They aren't big on text, so imagination is high up there, or the writing perfectly pitched at the intended audience, or at least some kind of emotional resonance. For example, Arnold Lobel's Frog and Toad chapter books are about as simple as they come, but something about those two old reptilians speaks to your emotions. I'm just not sure old Ted got there himself.

I did really enjoy the way it was designed - half told in text, half told in graphic novel. And Ted Goes Wild does have some nice themes about bravery and being resourceful and a child's attachment to their toys. I'm certainly attached to mine and I'm definitely no longer a child.

This teddy - not quite for me. But then again, you'd have to work pretty hard to knock Corduroy from his top spot in my heart.

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