Parents' Guide to

Introducing Teddy: A Gentle Story About Gender and Friendship

By Jan Carr, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 3+

Gentle teddy bear tale about gender identity.

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This sensitively written book on a difficult topic is done with just the right hand to introduce the idea of gender identity and transition to very young kids, for whom less may be more. In Introducing Teddy: A Gentle Story about Gender and Friendship, author Jessica Walton wisely assigns the issue to a teddy bear, not a human, therefore keeping it at a more comfortable remove. She also peoples the book with kid characters who aren't concerned at all with gender stereotypes -- Errol likes tea parties and Ava builds robots -- so the book gently models breaking out of constricting gender roles more generally.

The appealing art by Dougal MacPherson goes a long way toward helping kids relate. It pictures the teddy with endearingly ragged stitching, conveying the implicit message that we all have our own secret worries and fears. This book works well for kids thinking about gender identity, or who, like most preschoolers, like to play with both trucks and tutus themselves.

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