Just Being Ted – Lisa Sheehan

“I’ll sew a bear costume and dress up for the day!” he said. “I’ll become Ted the Bear and have lots of fun and make lots of new friends.”

Just Being Ted is a lovely book, with gorgeous illustrations. My children adore this book, and I have to read it over and over. To give you an idea of how brilliant the book is, my children are 13, 10, 9 and 8! They love it, both the text and the illustrations.

Lisa Sheehan, the author as well as illustrator, has done such a fabulous job with this book. Not just the illustrations and the story, but the whole theme of the book. This is the first book written and illustrated by Lisa, although she has done the illustrations for other books.

Ted the dragon wants to make friends and goes to great lengths to show his kindness, but his sharp claws and smoky breath keeps scaring the other animals away. We all felt sorry for Ted, as he seemed very gifted and generous, making cakes and toys for his neighbours and the animals around him. When Ted sees an invite for a Bears’ Picnic Party, he decides to dress up as a bear.

Ted went to great lengths, offering gifts and cakes to animals around him, in the hope of being accepted.

Just like Lisa Sheehan did when her daughter’s school had a teddy bears’ picnic for bears only, my children felt it was very unkind to other animals that would want to play and make friends as well. Poor Ted was so disappointed, but you can see him working away at the costume, practising to be a proper bear in time for the picnic.

My children were thrilled to see that Ted ended up making friends just by being Ted, and their faces beam every single time when we get to that point in the beautifully rhythmic story. It’s not really in verse but has a flow to the words that make it feel like it’s in verse, very soothing and it has a wonderful cadence to it.

I was talking to my children about Ted, and the trouble he had taken to turn himself into a bear to get accepted, and what they think that would mean. We had a wonderful chat about that, as especially my older children have to work very hard to ‘fit in’. As we homeschool, my children now meet so many different children, allowing them to make friends that they are comfortable with. There is no pressure from outside to conform to their age group, and that brings so much relief!

We discussed how miserable it can make you feel when you’re doing things you don’t like, just to make friends. My children mentioned how important it was to be kind to people who are different or play differently, so they don’t feel the need to dress up like Ted, disguising who they really are.

I hope Lisa Sheehan will do more books like this adorable book! Not only does it look amazing, and is a sweet story for young children, the message is beautiful as well, and even older children will enjoy talking about what it means to be inclusive in play.

I was given a review copy through Love Books Tours but was under no pressure or obligation to write a favourable review.

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