Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Red Ted is a stuffed scarlet bear who is dearly loved by a little girl named Stevie. On a trip to see her nana one day, Stevie accidentally leaves her sturdy companion behind on the train. The conductor deposits the forgotten bear in a very large room filled with shelves and crammed with various items.
Red Ted is befriended by Crocodile, who has been there for a very long time. He says that this is the Place for Lost Things, where all unclaimed items end up. Red Ted misses Stevie terribly and feels so lost and hopeless that he bursts into tears.
Red Ted is a brave little bear and he doesn't cry for long. He quickly decides that he will simply leave the Place of Lost Things and find Stevie on his own. Although Crocodile doesn't think this is a terribly sound idea, he asks to go along. Red Ted consents and the two stuffed animals formulate their escape and rush headlong out the door.
Just outside the door, they meet a large white cat, who agrees to help them because she thinks they smell of cheese. Of course, they meet a series of obstacles (the best of these is an oddly inserted dachshund) which they must overcome. Happily, the trio is successful and Stevie is delighted to see her best friend again. This is indeed a happy ending for all, for Stevie asks to adopt Crocodile and her mom has a bag of cheese for the cat.
The illustrations are unique, with the backgrounds a wash of sepia tones - only the main characters are done in color. A most interesting point is that the animals really DO look like stuffed animals. They move a big stiffly and their eyes are flat black beads. Each character speaks and think using bubbles above their heads, instead of more traditional text.
This is a sweet little story that really drives home the power of persistence. Red Ted shows all of us that when you have vision and drive (and the assistance of a cheese sniffing cat), you really can achieve the impossible. The sweetness of the book is tempered with humor - the cat with her catchy cheese ditty, the hilarious dachshund, the displayed thoughts of the stuffed animals, plus much more. All the elements put together make this a unique story and one which most readers will find completely endearing.