My rating: 5/5
Genre: Children’s fiction, Picture book
First of all, I would like to give heartfelt thanks to Cory Q Tan and LibraryThing Member Giveaways for providing me with a digital review copy to read this book. My review is honest, unbiased, and voluntary.
Having read previously written books by Cory, my expectations were really high with this book as well. And like always I was not disappointed, rather I was pleasantly surprised. Theodore the Unfortunate Bear is a story which will find a resonance in everyone’s life. The book is about a teddy bear who is urbane, toffee nosed, and at times maudlin. He considers the family he is with to be a pain in the neck. He whines about the faults he finds with every family member; the baby who chokes him with his hugs or drools over him; the mother who is always ranting and is irritated if things are not in their right place, and sees him as trash when found lying around; the father, who is lackadaisical and nonchalantly happens to sit on the bear shrouding him in darkness; the little girl who gets on his nerves with her make-believe birthday parties that irks him to no extent; and the most funny is that he is finding fault with the pet dog also only because the dog happens to drown him in his slobber. He dearly wishes that the family would just vanish and he would be alone without interruption or disturbance to his existence.
This is simply one of the most easily found characteristics of humans who fail to appreciate what they have with them. So when the family disappears, Theodore enjoys the momentary freedom, but after a while what seemed suffocating, was missed by him. He realizes his folly and embarks on a journey to trace his family. In the course, he faces many mishaps which help realize his folly, since help comes from the very same people he wanted to peter out.
With his characteristic magnificent illustrations, Cory has written another masterpiece, which is not only enjoyable but also thought provoking. The illustrations only add more flavor to the story since each text is reflected in an image-making reading highly pleasing. When reading to a young child it makes a difference as they are able to associate images with each word. Cory has beautifully blended a simple lesson which is to be appreciative of what life offers, rather than cribbing about it and be ungrateful. He brings forth a very significant lesson for life that to be truly a part of a family you need to be tolerant and accommodating of the quirks in each person’s nature to be loved and accepted. Love does not complain, it is all-encompassing and accepts with flaws.
I loved the book even as an adult since we in our rush in life forget to pause and be grateful for what we have in our lives and most often look after what we don’t have. It is an essential lesson to be happy with what you have at present because you can never be sure that happiness will be assured with what life brings to you