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The Children's Bookshelf: The Worst Teddy EVER - October 23, 2022

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The Worst Teddy EVER written and illustrated by Marcelo Verdad is a story about a little boy named Noa who thinks his Teddy who refuses to stay awake and play with him is just a sleepy head. However, Noa does not know the whole story.

When night comes around Noa climbs into his comfortable bed and falls asleep---but not Teddy. He must guard Noa from whatever and whomever comes in the middle of the night. The first visitor is a little ghost. Then comes the Boogeyman. Next, a busy Tooth Fairy flies in and finally from under the bed comes an energetic Tickle Monster! Each time Teddy must make the intruder leave without disturbing Noa. “No visitors are allowed at night,” says Teddy.

When morning breaks, Noa wakes up for a day of action, play and fun! Exhausted Teddy, however, is shown sleeping at the breakfast table and taking a snooze at the playground.

The delightful illustrations are rendered in paper cutouts, crayons, acrylic paint, and digital collage. The picture of the Tickle Monster hiding under Noa’s bed with eyes and hands ready to tickle Noa awake is perfect.

The final double spread illustration shows Mama reading a bedtime story to Noa and Teddy with the little Ghost, the Boogeyman, the Tooth Fairy and the Tickle Monster standing by for another night of fun for all----- except Teddy.

The Worst Teddy EVER written and illustrated by Marcelo Verdad is full of fun and gives parents an opportunity to begin to discuss what happens when we judge people’s actions without knowing the real story. This picture book is for readers 4-8 years of age and is available in both English and Spanish editions (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers).

The Children’s Bookshelf is a production of WCMU. Links to the podcast and Activity Questions can be found at Children’s Bookshelf dot org.

Activity Questions for The Worst Teddy EVER

Younger Children: Teddy gave a flashlight to the frightened baby ghost and toys to the bored Boogeyman. He did not give the tooth fairy or the tickle monster anything! What would you give to both? Draw a picture of your gifts.

Older Children: Have you ever made a particular decision about someone (as Noa did about Teddy) that was hastily made and not based on complete facts? Write a personal journal entry for your eyes only about this situation. Talk about who you misjudged, when it happened, what it was about and how you corrected things.

Questions for all: In this story who is your favorite night visitor? Why? If you were to add three more night visitors to this story, who would they be? Have any of these night visitors been in your bedroom? Do you think Noa will continue to think Teddy is the worst teddy ever?

Sue Ann Martin is professor emerita of Communication and Dramatic Arts and the founding and past Dean of the College of Communication and Fine Arts at Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. She first became interested in children’s literature when she wrote her PhD thesis on the oral characteristics of the Caldecott Award-winning children’s books. Her PhD is in Speech and Interpretation with a cognate in Early Childhood Education. She went on to review children’s books for the Detroit Free Press, write three popular resource books for teachers regarding children’s books and the creative process. She also reviewed newly-published books for Arts Almanac specials on WCMU Public Radio. Her 2002 children’s books special for WCMU won a Merit Award in Special Interest Programming from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters.