Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Betsy Devany's Five Favorite Books about "Loveys" (+ a Giveaway!)

Today, we welcome to the Cottage, debut author Betsy Devany! Betsy is the author of the newly released picture book, LUCY'S LOVEY (Christy Ottaviano Books) about a little girl named Lucy, and her beloved "lovey," a very special dolly she's nicknamed Smelly Baby. 

Books about beloved toys or "loveys" are perennial favorites, for kids and adults. So we asked Betsy — who in addition to being an author, helps young children pick out loveys (and occasionally recover lost ones) in her job at The Toy Soldier, a toy shop in her home state of Connecticut — to tell us her five favorite picture books about beloved loveys. And, you can enter to win a LUCY'S LOVEY signed by both Betsy and the Cottage's illustrator-in-residence, Christopher Denise

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Loveys. I adore them all. Big loveys, tiny loveys, blankie loveys, dolly loveys, stuffed animal loveys. I see one cradled in the arms of a child and my heart melts, recognizing how much a lovey matters in a child’s life, and how loveys go through thick and thin for Their Child. It is a magical world, this place that exists between children and their special toys.

Today, I share my top five picture books that feature loveys, and the five reasons that loveys mean so much to me. Thank you for inviting me!


FIVE FAVORITES

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery William, adaptation by Lou Fancher, paintings by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher

Loveys are Real to children.

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.” “By the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and you get very shabby.” This story exquisitely defines the love between a child and their one special toy (lovey). I always think of The Velveteen Rabbit when a child enters the toy store where I work carrying a well-loved lovey. Almost immediately, by noticing the lovey’s condition, you know how the lovey soothes the child. With my tiny Steiff bear, the ends of his arms were worn down to the point that straw was pushing through the mohair because I’d rub Little Bear’s arms when I needed comforting. In The Velveteen Rabbit, all the pink was rubbed off the rabbit’s nose where the boy had kissed him.


Bella and Stella Come Home by Anika Denise, illustrated by Christopher Denise

Loveys are vital transitional and comfort objects.

This theme comes to play in Bella and Stella Come Home. Bella’s own moving fears are projected onto her beloved stuffed elephant Stella, clearly visible on the faces of both the child (Bella) and the lovey (Stella), who at times is depicted as a life-sized stuffed elephant. In comforting Stella every new step along the way in their new “Does NOT feel like home” house, Bella learns to comfort herself, seeing beyond the differences between what is familiar and the unknown. Gradually, Bella realizes that change brings new possibilities, such as a new neighborhood friend. Except for a visual hint of a neighborhood parent, this story offers a bird’s eye view of the touching relationship between a lovey and Their Child.


Sophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller & Anne Wildorf

Loveys can be anything.

A typical lovey is a doll or a stuffed animal or a blanket. A typical lovey is not a squash purchased at a farmer’s market that bypasses becoming served up for dinner, only to be anthropomorphised. The what-was-supposed-to-be-eaten squash quickly becomes a doll baby named Bernice, in an utterly charming way, inspired by a child’s rich imagination. As the reader, we are privy to Sophie and Bernice’s magical world, their undying love for one another until Bernice turns quite blotchy, as happens to uneaten squash over time. Because Sophie has unconditional love for Bernice, she finds a way for Bernice to live on.

I Don’t Like Koala by Sean Ferrell, illustrated by Charles Santoso

Not all loveys are as loved at first.

Adam does not Koala. He thinks Koala is the most terrible terrible. And Koala’s terrible eyes follow Adam everywhere he goes. But . . . Koala is loyal to Adam, even though Adam has a nightly bedtime routine in which he tries to get rid of Koala. But in the morning, “Koala is always there. In his bed. On his pillow. Closer than close.”
In this laugh-out-loud picture book, it is the lovey that seems to show greater unconditional love for Their Child, until Adam perceives a “MORE terrible terrible?” and then realizes that Koala isn’t so terrible after all. In the end, admitting his love for Koala.


Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems

Lovey memories are never forgotten.

There are many of us who still have either vivid memories of our childhood lovey and/or still have the remnants of our favorite toy that shepherded us through childhood. The trio of the Knuffle Bunny books speaks to this. In the first book, the young Trixie doesn’t yet have a full grasp of language, but her love for Knuffle Bunny is clear when Knuffle Bunny is unknowingly left behind at the laundromat. Of my five favorite picture books about loveys, Trixie is the youngest protaganist, and thus we see how early on a child forms a lovey attachment. The theme of Knuffle Bunny getting lost carries over into the second and third books (Knuffle Bunny Too and Knuffle Bunny Free), but what I love best is the ending of the third and last book, in which Trixie is now an adult, and a mother herself, and Knuffle Bunny comes back into her life, and into the arms of her own child.

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PLEASE COMMENT BELOW WITH YOUR FAVORITE (OR YOUR CHILD'S OR GRANDCHILD'S FAVORITE) LOVEY, TO WIN A COPY OF LUCY'S LOVEY SIGNED BY BOTH BETSY DEVANY AND CHRISTOPHER DENISE!

WINNER ANNOUNCED ON OCTOBER 12th! 

by Betsy Devany
illustrated by Christopher Denise
(Henry Holt and Co/ Christy Ottaviano Books, September 27, 2016)

"There is no child who won't empathize with Lucy and cheer for her reunion with Smelly Baby."-Kirkus Reviews

"Suited for one-on-one sharing. . . The pictures are delightful . . . Readers will want to pore over the artwork and will enjoy this domestic drama."-School Library Journal


Betsy Devany has been writing for all ages of kids for over twenty years. Aside from being a first-time author, she loves reading, photography, birding, acting silly with her grandkids, and working at an old-fashioned toy store in Mystic, where she delights in meeting rag-tag (sometimes smelly) loveys. You can visit Betsy at www.betsydevany.com or follow her on Twitter @BetsyDevany or Facebook.  https://www.facebook.com/BetsyDevany/





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25 comments:

  1. My son's "kiki" (aka blankie) was once a white fluffy fleece, satin-edged crib-sized coverlet embroidered with his name and birthdate. Now it's a four inch square, brownish, pilled and tattered treasure. Oh the indignities Kiki has suffered and the imaginary worlds he has travelled! And now he rests gently in a drawer, full of memories.

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    1. I love tattered lovey stories. Thanks for sharing, Cathy!

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  2. My daughter's lovey was called purple teddy (and mine was a lion named Linus). Does A Ball for Daisy count as a lovey ;)

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    1. Yes, books can definitely be loveys, Maria!

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    2. I love how the picture book A Ball for Daisy is a lovey. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. My daughter's lovey was a little pink bear, called Baby Bear. Baby Bear had many close calls in his time, including having to be rescued from the ocean one time! He made it until the ripe old age of 11 (he was mostly a head with bits of fabric hanging down from it by that point) when he got scooped up with the bed sheets at a hotel and was lost forever in laundry land.

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    1. Sounds like Baby Bear had a good run, though. :)) Thanks for your comment, Barbara!

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  4. I had so many loveys. White Bear #1 was given to me when I was born, and his nose is now just a button (I chewed off all the fabric) and he's limp and lumpy from having his stuffing all squeezed for many years. White Bear #2 is another of the same exact bear, given to me when I was five-ish, he's in slightly less rough shape as White Bear #1, but still very well loved. Big Bear was as tall as I was when I got him. Matilda the giant brown bunny came in an Easter basket. Puffalump I got as a very small child too. Stella the bright pink stegosaurus I won at a fair, she was as big as me too. And Pooky I bought with my allowance money. And those are just the earliest loveys! And I still have them all, and all my (literally) hundreds of other loveys in totes in our cellar. Pooky still sleeps with me every night :) You're never too old for loveys!

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    1. Stella the Stegosaurus sounds like a picture book title, Emily! We think you should go write/ draw it right away! :) Thanks for commenting!

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  5. Happy Book Birthday, Lucy and friends! I still love my Bunny. xo.

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    1. Bunnies make good loveys, Nancy. Thanks for sharing!

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  6. The Velveteen Rabbit was my all time favorite, as my son (now 20 yrs.) had a lovey named, 'Rabbit'. He took that rabbit everywhere and many times he'd lose track of it and somehow I always knew where Rabbit was hiding. That rabbit today barely has enough of the same fur, nose and eyes that it started out with-but oh how much it was loved. A treasure of memories for sure.

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    1. The best-loved loveys are always a little bedraggled. As it should be. :) Thanks for your comment, Kate!

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  7. My Lucy has a stuffed rabbit she calls Bunny and they wear matching nightgowns.

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    1. Aww, your very own Lucy's Lovey! So sweet. Thanks for commenting, Christina

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  8. My brother has a little pillow that he carried everywhere. Even though it was washed periodically, after a few years; it was pretty nasty. Since he didn't seem to be so attached to it, my mother tossed it in the garbage when my brother was around 10. She saw him secretly go out and fish it out of the garbage can (yuck, right?). Sweet Mom never said a word. My brother denies it but we siblings figure he probably still has it to this day!

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    1. Haha!! This is GREAT story, Judy! Thanks for sharing it.

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  9. My lovey was and is a stuffed rabbit, creatively named Bunny, who was given to me by the Easter Bunny the spring I turned 2. Bunny survived road trips, camp outs, and my brother ripping his ears off countless times before accompanying me to college, where he occasionally penned tiny notes to my roommates and boyfriend. Bunny now sleeps with my oldest daughter and tells her loveys about the good old days.

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    1. Bunnies make very lovable loveys, clearly! Thanks for commenting, Katey!

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  10. Thanks for this list! There are some new books I need to read. I have 3-year-old twins and my son has a blankie and literally walks around like Linus from Peanuts, sucking his finger and carrying it. It used to be white. It's sort of gray. My daughter has a mini-Minnie Mouse she calls Baby Minnie. Both have had many many washes and been anxiously awaited. There's a page in Kevin Henkes Chrysanthemum where her lovey is in the washer and she's sitting outside saying 'I'll wait for you, Petal.' Lovey in the washer does cause some distress!

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    1. Indeed. I bet Lucy never let Smelly Baby go in the wash. Ha! Thanks, Karen!

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  11. My 14 year old son still has his 'lovey' which is a crocheted white blanket that my mom (his nana) made him when he was a baby. She has since passed away, but he still keeps his 'lovey' on his bed. My mom also had a stuffed harp seal that my son keeps on his bed too. I am not allowed to pack it away.
    The picture book I MUST HAVE BOBO! by Eileen Rosenthal is a lovey story.

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    1. We love that book, too, Nadine! Thanks for your comment!

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  12. My stuffed lamb 'Lambchops'! Can't wait to read Lucy's Lovey!

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