Now, it is 1940, the world is at war again and England has decided to send as many children as possible to Canada to keep them safe. Aileen Rogers is all grown up, working as a homefront nurse, whose present job is excorting the English children to their wartime foster homes. And yes, she still has Teddy, carrying him in her pocket in hope that seeing him will help the children feel less afraid.
As a ship arrives, Teddy notices that two small children, Grace and younger brother William, 5, look particularly lost and afraid. With a long ocean voyage behind them and now facing a long train ride across Canada, Aileen and Teddy take them under their wing. William is allowed to keep Teddy when they arrive at their destination. And so, for the rest of the war, Grace, Teddy and Wiliam live on a farm, helping their host family and keeping in touch with the parents by post.
The war lasted five years, and by the end, William was 10 years old. Grace and William return to England and their parents, and Teddy is returned to Aileen.
This lovely, gentle story about separation is narrated by Teddy, an old hand at being away from Aileen, and so someone who really understands the feelings of loneliness and anxiety that William feels at being so far away from his mom and dad. Sometimes, just having a warm and furry toy is enough to provide just the right amount of reassurance needed to get through something difficult.
Along with and complimenting Teddy's narration are beautiful, realistic oil paintings by Brian Deines. These illustrations are the same softness to them that Teddy's words offer.
Author Stephanie Innes created A Bear in War and Bear on the Homefront used family memorabilia, including letters, photographs, Aileen's journal and, of course, Teddy. Teddy was donated to the Canadian War Museum. You can hear about it in the short video below (after the annoying ad).
This book was purchased for my personal library