Sitting in a Communications 101 class in college, I was given the assignment to bring a children’s book to life through the art of storytelling. The story “Corduroy” by Don Freeman immediately came to mind. To this day, each of my grown kids loves this story.
Corduroy is a ragged little bear who lives on the shelf of a large department store. Every day he hopefully watches as busy shoppers pass by his shelf. He longs for a home, but sadly is never chosen.
Things change for Corduroy when Lisa, a young girl shopping with her mother, eyes Corduroy with excitement and begs to take him home. Mom dismisses Lisa’s request and points out an obvious flaw. He is missing a button on his overalls. Corduroy has a night of adventurous exploring as he searches for his missing button. After causing quite a ruckus, he is caught out of place and carried back to his proper place on the shelf. Much to his surprise, Corduroy wakes up to find Lisa back at the story and staring into his face.
This classic story is one of friendship, hope, and problem solving. One of the reasons I love children’s books is because they can act as a gateway to insightful conversations with kids of all ages. I know I love a friend who, like Lisa, is willing to look beyond my flaws and see the good.
We can use Corduroy’s story to spark conversations about friendship and problem solving. Here are some ideas:
- When Lisa and her mother first met Corduroy, what did each of them see?
- How did Lisa respond when her mom said no?
- What did Corduroy do when he realized he had a problem?
- What did Lisa do to solve her problem?
- How did Corduroy know Lisa was going to be a good friend?
Teaching moments come in all shapes and sizes. I’m glad Corduroy and Lisa’s story of friendship is part of our family experience.