09 April 2014

Social Realism

Steve got a book! Well, okay, I got a book. A friend found it for me at a second-hand store, and at first I wondered why - I mean, I love kids' books, but why this particular one? Then I cracked open the cover, and all became clear: it's not for me, it's for Steve. Obviously.

It's called Teddy Edward in the Country, by Patrick and Mollie Matthews (published by Golden Pleasure Books in London in 1962), and it's the story of a stuffed bear, Teddy Edward, on a visit to the country with his human, Sarah (they normally live in London), as chronicled by lots of interesting photos. You don't see much of Sarah in the pictures, but lots of cows, swans, rabbits, and even some hedgehogs. And Teddy Edward, of course.

Steve considers it the best thing in Social Realism he's read in a long time; it's very true to life, he says. At least to life in England in the early 1960s.
It kind of threw him for a loop when I told him that the Sarah-girl in the picture is well over fifty now and probably has grandchildren; a bear's lifespan is very different from a human's - some only make it a few years before their plush is loved off, others last decades. For all we know, Teddy Edward is still alive and kicking somewhere in the home counties, and conversing with calves and kittens every summer. Maybe we should try to look him up if we ever make it to England.

Life, the Universe, and Social Realism for Bears. It's all in how you look at it.

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