A Bear on the Homefront by Stephanie Innes and Harry Endrulat continues the story of the teddy bear we first met in A Bear in War. I blogged about it in 2010, recommending the book as a resource for Remembrance Day.
In the first book, Teddy is returned to his human family in Canada after the soldier he accompanies to Europe dies at Passchendaele, Belgium.
Teddy resumes his story as British children arrive in Canada at the start of World War II - a safety precaution against bombing raids. This time Teddy accompanies a young nurse, Aileen, as she meets the newly arrived children, traveling with them until they arrive at their destinations to settle with Canadian families.
Among the many children are Grace and William who Teddy picks out as looking particularly lost and afraid. Aileen takes them under her wing offering Teddy to William to hold. Teddy is able to comfort the two homesick children on the train ride west to Winnipeg. Arriving late at night, Grace and William are very nervous about meeting the Dents, the people they will stay with. William wishes he can stay with Aileen and Teddy.
Aileen and Teddy decide that Teddy should go with William to help him adjust and settle in. After Aileen leaves, William notices that Teddy looks sad and Teddy acknowledges that he wonders if he’ll ever see Aileen again. William understands Teddy’s feelings as they reflect this own about leaving home and coming to Canada.
Living on the Dent’s farm turns out to be a different way of living for the children but the couple is kind and work to make the two feel welcomed. They soon settle into a new routine. Nevertheless, William still misses home and wishes that the war would end soon. So, does Teddy. After five long years, the war finally ends and the children return to England.
And Teddy? Well, he’s packed up and mailed to a Montreal hospital to be reunited with Aileen. Teddy exclaims, “Finally, we were all back home, where we belonged.”
Bear On the Homefront will tie in nicely with units about Remembrance Day (November 11th) for elementary students. Besides connecting to Canadian history and war it speaks to the bigger ideas of home and family.
The authors include a page of information about Teddy, Aileen and her father, the soldier who died in 1917.
The following link will take you to the Canadian War Museum’s website and you can see a picture of Teddy which is where he now displayed.