Teddy’s World
Order at Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble.com

“ ‘And what’s the use of a book without pictures?’ …wondered Alice.”

Whether following Lewis Carroll’s Alice down the rabbit hole into Wonderland, creeping through the back of the closet in C.S Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, or sailing with Maurice Sendak’s Max to Where the Wild Things Are – all great children’s literature is peopled with wonderful characters who take us on imaginative journeys of transformation from where we return all the wiser.

In Teddy’s World, Joost Elffers and Mirja de Vries have created a touching visual journey into the inner life of the Teddy Bear – the dearest and most powerful emotional icon of childhood.

This fall marks the 100th anniversary of the Teddy Bear. First appearing in 1902, the Teddy Bear has not only ingrained himself in pop culture, but has positioned his “bearness” as an essential member of the family, not to be replaced by any mere plush rabbit or frog. The Teddy Bear was created in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt after he refused to shoot a defenseless bear that was tied to a tree during a hunt. The spirit of the incident, and “Teddy” Roosevelt’s compassion for the bear, inspired Brooklyn candy store owners Rose and Morris Michtom to make toy bears and name them after the President.

It shouldn’t surprise us that the life of this furry companion is rather complex. Imagine being the adored confidant and playmate of a small child, only to be slobbered on, tossed around, torn or even thrown away. A teddy’s world is not simple, nor is it ideal. But it is wonderfully complete -- a rough-and-tumble existence, full of the ups and downs of love and loss, joy and trauma. He has secrets and nightmares, dreams and desires. Teddy wants to know where he came from and who he is. And Teddy’s World reflects this quest for self-discovery.


According to Elffers, the teddy bear is “one of the most magical realities we have in modern life.” He adds, “Teddy bears are adored, they help with loneliness, they stabilize our feelings, minimize our fears, and help our children make a successful transition from being mothered to being autonomous.” They are the first transitional object, a child’s first “not me” experience, and as such are essential to the learning process. A powerful icon, the teddy bear is a “magical object” indeed.

Some 25 years or so ago, Joost suggested that his friend, photographer Mirja de Vries, take photos of teddy bears. And this she did. Today, she hosts the largest collection of teddy bear photographs in the world. Teddy’s World features these photographs in sometimes surreal, sometimes super-realistic montages, in what Joost deems “a looking glass of reality.” All 200 pages are composed of multi-layered images, seamlessly presented using the latest computer techniques to combine newly photographed scenes and images from the de Vries archives.

A playful text, surprising and thoughtfully suggestive, helps the reader follow Teddy along his journey and identify with his quest. These wonderful tableaux stir up our memories, inviting us to explore our own emotional attachment to Teddy and be touched and enchanted in the process. Funny and utterly original, they express the sweetness and complexity of Teddy’s relationships, his search for self-knowledge, his entire world. Together, they create an inspired and moving book – a fitting tribute to this fascinating, timeless object of our affection.


Teddy bears represent more than 60 percent -- $2.7 billion of the
$4.5 billion -- plush toy market in the U.S.*

About a half-million Americans are members of 21 Teddy Bear Clubs, and there are several million teddy bear collectors in the U.S.

There are several magazines and hundreds of stores/boutiques in the U.S. focusing on teddy bears alone.

There are thousands of web sites devoted to teddy bears and teddy bear themes.

A teddy bear can mirror love and reflect it tenfold.

An “arctophile” loves teddy bears unconditionally and forever – and to a certain extent identifies with them.

* Statistics from the New York Times, “A Teddy Bear Celebrating a Real Teddy,” Friday, December 14, 2001.

Order at Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble.com

by Joost Elffers and Mirja de Vries
182 pages of full-color photomontages, comprised of over 1000 images, including 3 double-folds and 4 single-folds
9.5” x 11.5”
Hardcover, $29.95
November 2002
ISBN: 0-9718975-0-6

It’s all so hard to bear…
© Teddy’s World LLC. All rights reserved.

© Teddy’s World LLC. All rights reserved.

Bears a striking resemblance…
These days, teddies come in all shapes and sizes, but originally,
we looked more like live bears. We had longer snouts and
smaller ears. And now, these bears have something else in
common with us -- they’re stuffed, too.

© Teddy’s World LLC. All rights reserved.

At the circus, the flying Bing Brothers take the fun to great heights.
© Teddy’s World LLC. All rights reserved.

© Teddy’s World LLC. All rights reserved.

Saevis inter se convenit ursis.
(Bears live in harmony with bears.)
© Teddy’s World LLC. All rights reserved.

Order at Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble.com