Sometimes when we look at the heaps of stuffed animals and dolls collecting in our little ones' rooms, we have a serious impulse to clear them all out. What clutter! And the kids hardly ever seem to play with them anyway! But we hold back. Why? Because from our own dim childhood memories, and from certain classic stories, we know that even toys that don't get played with much can hold a very special place in a child's imagination. The capacity to believe that a worn out bear or a doll with staring eyes can come to life and have all sorts of adventures is one of the wonders of a child's mind. So don't miss these well-loved tales about toys that come to life! You'll never see that forlorn stuffed teddy in the corner in quite the same way again.
Corduroy by Don Freeman. Consider this a story of love at first sight - love between a slightly forlorn, been sitting-on-the-store-shelf- too long teddy bear and a little girl named Lisa. Like any good love story, this one has its obstacles, and is full of adventure. Any child who has ever been attached to a special stuffed animal or doll will be utterly absorbed by this sweet tale as well as its sequel, A Pocket for Corduroy.
Raggedy Ann & Andy by Johnny Gruelle. These stories about a couple of rag dolls and their other toy companions are old-fashioned in the best possible way. They're full of romps and friendship and adventure, and are best enjoyed with Raggedy Ann and Andy themselves on your child's knee.
Pinocchio. A list of stories about toys that come to life would not be complete without this tale of the wooden puppet who wanted to be a child. The wonderful Disney movie may be too complex for younger preschoolers, but five or six-year-olds and up will be riveted by Pinocchio's strange adventures, and the love and loyalty that eventually do allow him to become a real boy.
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams. Here is the essential story of a plush animal who is soon relegated to a corner in favor of fancier toys, but always loved. And it is a little boy's love, that, in the end, allows him to come to life. As in all of these stories, imagination and affection abet one another -- now that teaches us something about growing up, doesn't it?
Our wonderful San Diego City Editor also suggests this book: The Stuffed Animals Get Ready for Bed. Read her post to find out more. And let us know your suggestions too!
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