Sunday, March 18, 2012

Day 5 Classic Reading for Kids ~ Beady Bear

This is a nice long article - but what a treat! My favorite childhood book to review & giveaway ...... and a special announcement I get to share with you!


by Don Freeman
ISBN: 978-0140501971
$6.99, Age 3+

About the book:
A toy bear goes off to a cave to live as a real bear should, only to find he needs something more to be truly happy. 

My thoughts:
I have saved my favorite childhood book for last. Beady Bear is the story of a little wind up bear owned by Thayer. One day he decides it's time he lives like other bears do and he trots (or winds) his way to a cave where he discovers he needs light and a pillow to be truly happy not realizing it's actually Thayer that he needs. 

Beady arrives at his cave to discover that it's dark and he decides he needs a light to make it more comfortable and welcoming. So he goes back home to get a flashlight and when he gets back to the cave and tries to get comfortable he discovers that the ground is hard and not so very comfortable so he returns back to the house to get his pillow. When he arrives back at the cave he tries to get comfortable but then his spring winds down and he has to lay there and listen to the noises in the cave..... What's that noise? Is it the original inhabitants of the cave? No, it's Thayer come to rescue him and wind him back up again!
Beady Bear was written and illustrated by Don Freeman the author of the wonderful Corduroy series. Don Freeman was the author & illustrator of many popular books other than the Corduroy books. He won a Caldecott Honor for the book Fly High, Fly Low and co-wrote several books with his wife including Chuggy and the Blue Caboose and Pet of the Met. 

The illustrations in Beady Bear were originally drawn by pencil and the detail and the shading in the book really make the story stand out. The original of the book was also hand colored by Lydia Freeman (Don's wife). I remember really studying and talking about those pictures with Dad and I think it's part of what made this one of my very favorite books as a little girl.

Did you know?
  • "Freeman did not start out to be a children's author & illustrator, although by the age of 7 he knew he wanted, above all, to be an artist more than anything. Working with crayolas and whatever drawing paper he could get his hands on, the young Freeman began sketching a perceptive view of the world around him." by Michael Gabriel (1995) from
  • He began his illustration career by sketching his impressions of the Broadway shows for the New York Times and The Herald Tribune. 
  • He is also known as a graphic artist who vividly portrayed the street life and theater world of New York City in the 1930’s and 40’s. 
  • He wrote graphic novels for adults. Great Shakes is based on the idea of Shakespeare in modern day Hollywood after a producer makes a deal to have Shakespeare write a modern day screenplay - but it doesn't quite go as planned. 
  • Don co-wrote several books with his wife beginning with Chuggy & the Blue Caboose and Pet of the Met. Chuggy is the story of a little blue Caboose that sat near their house and Don sat down one day to sketch it out. They ended up collaborating on a story of the adventures of Chuggy which was the first book they wrote together. 
  • Lydia (Don's wife) was a renowned oil and watercolor artist in her own right - you can see many of her works on her website @ She also illustrated 2 children's books: Onion Journey by Julia Cunningham & Wind in My Hand by hanako Fukuda. She also tried her hand at writing Haiku over the years and during the last 2-3 years of her life she would doodle her feelings and those drawings and haikus were combined into a book called "Flowers of unknown origins ~ Dance of the Forbidden Vegetables"

Tell him today
your love.
He may not be here tomorrow
and eternity is not far away.
For more information about Don Freeman, please visit: ~ you can see many of the other books he & Lydia wrote, teaching tools, hear and read some of Don's lectures, read articles about the author and also see a list of other books that weren't published. Some of those books Roy has been working on to complete and get published.

Both websites and are packed full of information about the very interesting and productive lives that Don & Lydia lived.

Pencil drawing a curvy line in a black-and-white illustration clipart 

One of the biggest honors I have as a blogger is to share BIG NEWS with you! Recently a long lost sequel to Beady Bear turned up in the garage of an old neighbor of Don's and Roy has been kind enough to share the book with me. He is in the process of finding a publisher for Beady's Pillow & I have directed him to Kane Miller & Usborne Books to meet with them in Bologna at the Children's Book Festival. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Beady's Pillow will soon be in an Usborne Books catalog!

So here is a "SNEAK PREVIEW" of 
Beady's Pillow
by Don Freeman
Unpublished so far

About the book:
At the end of Beady Bear we discover that Beady has left his pillow behind in the cave and Thayer has decided to go and get it for his little friend in the sequel. When Thayer doesn't come back Beady decides to go and rescue him and return with both Thayer and his pillow. Now remember he is a "wind up" toy - so will he be able to find Thayer before his spring winds down?

Roy was kind enough to forward a very rough copy of Beady's Pillow for me to read along with the original drawings and text including cross outs and Don's thoughts throughout the story which was a real treat. I've never seen a book in this stage of the writing process and it was neat to see some of the thought process an author goes through. I so wish I could share the book with you - but I promised to keep it all for myself (LOL) and I promise you that I will let you know as soon as the sequel is published! 

Don has already put together an iPad 1 and 2 version of Beady's Pillow although I don't believe he has published himself yet. I know that he is hoping to have a publisher pick it up - hopefully I will have good news for you soon and Beady's Pillow will be published in the near future.

(Due to the length of this post - I will post some fun ideas for families to do at a later date - art, writing, language ideas.)


You can purchase your own copy of Beady Bear and other Don Freeman books on Amazon. Click here to order Beady Bear for $6.99. It's currently on special - buy 4 for 3 - details are on the Amazon page for the promotion.

WIN It!  

I will be giving away a copy of Beady Bear in the prize package for Classic Reading for Kids. I have extended the date for the giveaway (due to my getting caught up in my latest book fair) and it will close officially on Monday night. Will YOU be the winner?

Click the button to enter the contest
~ Note - ends this Monday @ 10 pm ~

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