Jessica Walton (text), Dougal MacPherson (illus.), Introducing Teddy, Bloomsbury/Allen & Unwin, June 2016, 32pp., $24.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781408877623
Errol and Thomas the teddy do everything together. One day, Errol notices Thomas looks sad. At first Thomas is afraid to tell his friend that he has always known he is a girl teddy, not a boy teddy. Errol assures Teddy that all that matters is that they are friends. Thomas switches his bow tie to a hair tie and changes his name to Tilly. Happy that he is accepted as his true self by his friends, the friends continue to play as before.
Gender should never be a barrier to being who we truly are and doing the things we love to do. Unfortunately, there are children who experience a disconnect between who they are and who they are ‘meant’ to be, or who may have a family member who has transitioned. It takes great courage for families who need to to make decisions about gender transition. Gentle and affirming, this simple story with beautifully rendered ink and watercolour illustrations, will help young readers in this situation connect and be reassured that they are not alone.
Reviewed by Sharon Seymour