Bearspaw School students crazy for author’s new children’s book about too many teddy bears
Monday, Mar 10, 2014 11:08 am
The kindergarten students at Bearspaw School all agreed on one thing on Feb. 28: they own too many teddy bears.
Calgary-based writer Shelley Arnusch inspired the revelation with a guest reading at the school of her recently-published children’s book, Too Many Teddies.
The story was inspired by a photo of her friend’s daughter - a Grade 4 student at Bearspaw School - sleeping on the floor in her room to allow her stuffed animals the comfort of her bed, said Arnusch.
“I thought that was really hilarious and the image really stuck with me. The comment I received the most from people who’ve heard the story is that this sounds like someone they know,” said Arnusch, a first-time children’s book author.
Too Many Teddies tells the story of a girl named Trixie who decides to give part of her large collection of teddy bears away after coming to the realization that an overflowing couch is a sign of too many teddy bears. The girl also learns the valuable lesson of giving to others and making new friends along the way.
The book highlights deeper concepts like the importance of philanthropy and living a less-cluttered life, but Arnusch said she thinks it’s the relatability of the story and the sing-song rhyme of the wording that has made it well-received among the children she’s read to at numerous book readings at libraries, schools and book stores since January.
“I think the thing with kids is that they really respond well to the imagery because it’s vibrant and almost animated in style. They like the silliness of it,” she said.
Arnusch also made an appearance in the Grade 2 and 4 students’ classroom, and was met with a lot of curiosity about her book and line of work. The students asked about the process of publishing a book, what other literary works Arnusch has produced, and many commented on their own collection of stuffed animals and toys.
While writing for a very young audience is new for Arnusch, she said bringing a story to life is not. The Saint Albert-native is a staff writer for RedPoint Media in Calgary, and regularly contributes to the City-focused publication, Avenue Magazine, as well as WestJet’s in-flight magazine, Up.
The idea to expand her writing to a younger audience was “kind of serendipitous,” said Arnusch.
“It wasn’t like I set out to be a children’s author, it was a happy accident, in a way, and I’m really happy with the results,” she said, adding she has no immediate plans to write another children’s book, but she’s not ruling it out as an option either.
Too Many Teddies can be found in Chapters bookstores, in public libraries, and online via Amazon and iTunes.