“Teddy-Bear Day,” Friend, Nov. 1990, 40
Stevie loved story time. Every Wednesday his mother took him to the library. Bonnie, the storyteller, greeted him at her desk and handed him his name tag. Later Bonnie led Stevie and the other children into the story room. Then the fun began. Bonnie told stories, put on puppet plays, and sang with them. Stevie thought that Bonnie was almost as terrific as his mother. That was pretty terrific! After the last story, Bonnie said good-bye to them and asked them to leave their name tags with her.
But one day Bonnie surprised them. “Next time, I want you all to bring a teddy bear,” she said. “Our story time will be ‘Teddy-Bear Day.’ I will give each of you a paper to give to your parents. The paper will be a reminder to not forget your teddy bears. OK, see you next week.”
Stevie didn’t have a teddy bear. He didn’t know what to do. He slowly walked out to the table where his mother was waiting. He handed her the paper Bonnie had given him. When his mother saw how worried Stevie looked, she read the paper.
“Stevie, are you worried because you don’t have a teddy bear?” she asked. “I’m sure that you can bring something else. You have lots of great stuffed animals. You have that big, shaggy dog that Uncle Todd gave you for Christmas. You have that kangaroo. And that little white cat from your big sister. You have all kinds of stuffed animals to bring.”
Stevie wasn’t sure that dogs and kangaroos and cats counted.
“In fact,” his mother added when he hesitated, “Bonnie will have so many teddy bears at story time that she’ll be glad to see a dog or kangaroo or cat.”
Stevie smiled. He’d bring one of his stuffed animals, and everything would be fine.
By the following Wednesday, he had decided on his stuffed cat. He wanted to surprise Bonnie, so he hid it under his jacket when he went to get his name tag.
Bonnie looked at the lump under his jacket and asked, “Is your bear a secret?”
Stevie nodded. When he entered the story room, he saw lots of teddy bears. There were teddy bears and more teddy bears. Big brown ones. Little black ones and fat white ones. One bear had a red hat on, and another wore pink boots.
Stevie started to worry again. Maybe it wasn’t all right to bring a cat, after all. He kept his cat hidden under his jacket.
Bonnie sat down with her books and puppets. “I see you all remembered to bring your teddy bears. Oh, my, I see some beautiful ones! Stevie, you can bring your bear out now.”
Stevie looked down and shook his head.
“Please, Stevie,” asked Bonnie.
Stevie shook his head again. He wasn’t going to let all the other children laugh at his little white cat.
Bonnie tried again. “Stevie, it will make me very sad if you don’t let us see your teddy.”
Stevie looked up in surprise. He didn’t want to make Bonnie sad. Slowly he reached under his jacket and brought it out.
The girl next to him whispered, “That’s not a teddy bear!”
“But it is one of the prettiest little cats I’ve ever seen,” Bonnie quickly said. “Thank you for sharing him with us, Stevie.”
She smiled at Stevie, and Stevie smiled back. “His name is Teddy,” he said proudly.
“Well, then I’m sure he’ll feel very much at home with all the other ‘Teddies.’”
Bonnie opened her first book, and Stevie and Teddy snuggled up to listen.