This third book in the installment is Corduroy by Don Freeman. This story has been near and dear to my heart since I can remember. The pure joy that is radiated by this little, lonely teddy bear has always made me feel a wonderful bliss.
Corduroy was published for the first time in 1968 and tells the story of a small teddy bear living in a department store in the toy section. Corduroy is lonely however, for no one wants to take him home. His world changes though when a little girl shows interest in him but her mother dismisses her wishes to purchase him by saying, "Not today dear...I've spent too much already. Besides, he doesn't look new. He's lost the button to one of his shoulder straps." The fact that the little girl cannot take him home brings sadness to Corduroy, but what makes this story really great, is his next reaction. He becomes concerned because he realizes that he has lost a button and decides that he must try and find it. This turn of events leads Corduroy on an adventure of epic proportions. This also works as a way to transform a simple story of a bear and girl wanting (and finding) a friend into an educational and fun event. Corduroy's search for his missing button leads him over mountains, into a palace, and to the new experience of being in a bed. Eventually his story ends in finding a home though, when the girl comes to purchase him with money she had saved.
The innocent kindness and curiosity that Corduroy expresses throughout this entire story endears him to the reader and also teaches a wonderful lesson to children. The accompanying drawings add much to the comprehension that Corduroy is a good soul, mainly for the fact that Freeman places such an emphasis on Corduroy's facial expressions. In doing this Freeman is giving Corduroy more than just a picturesque representation, he is giving him life.
It is easy to spot then that the essence of this book is not merely about a teddy bear finding a home, but about a deserving friend finding his place in the world. I highly recommend this book to anyone and sincerely hope that they derive as much delight from it as I have.