On Bunnies and Teds and Other Beloveds, and the Sorrow of Losing Them

I have a new picture book coming out shortly, called Sam and Jump (Candlewick, 5/10). It's the story of a little boy named Sam and his beloved stuffed bunny named Jump. Sam loves Jump so much that they do everything together. Even at the beach, Jump is Sam's loyal companion.

But after a fun day of beach play with a new friend named Thomas,

Sam accidentally leaves Jump behind, and realizes it when it's already too late to turn back. A long night of dark imaginings ensues for poor Sam.

I remember years ago when my daughter left her beloved Ted behind on one of our many local errands. When we realized Ted was missing, we had no idea where he was, and it was too late to go looking. My mind was instantly divided into two lanes of worry--one for my poor girl who was beside herself with sorrow for her lost beloved, and the other for Ted himself, who suddenly, for me, had real emotions and could experience loneliness and despair much like my living and breathing child. What if poor Ted was lying in a ditch somewhere, unable to call for help? What if he was closed into a dark store for an entire night, and was terrified, all alone? I realized in that moment that even as an adult, I could transfer some of my own fears and sorrows onto a grubby, limp, but adorable teddy bear. And if this was eating me up, what was it doing to my sweet little girl? She did manage to sleep that night, eventually, but Ted was the first thing on her mind in the morning. We eventually located Ted, who had in fact spent a glorious night unchaperoned in our little wonderful hardware store. I can only imagine the fun he had.

Thankfully, my daughter's love expanded to include other stuffed animals, and of course playmates and friends who became important in her life in new and wonderful ways. Now she is eighteen, and just so you know, Ted still occupies the place of honor--near her pillow--with his pal Elephant. They live a good safe life there.

Ted and Elephant.jpg

Do you have a lost Teddy story? Let me know!