This is a story that I wrote for my grandaughter Natalie, when she was quite small.
The Teddy Bear That Got Lost.
Natalie had a teddy bear called ‘Fred’. Her Nana bought it for her at an antiques fair. It was quite old and had been cuddled and hugged such a lot that much of its fur had been worn away. That was why Natalie’s Nana suggested they should call it ‘Fred Bear’! Natalie took him everywhere and loved him dearly.
Fred came with a suitcase, inside which was a jacket, trousers and hat, all of which fitted him perfectly. When he was dressed, he looked very smart indeed. Natalie’s Nana decided that he should have more clothes and started to make them herself. After a time, he had a school uniform (matching the one that Natalie wore for school!), he had a pair of bright red pyjamas, a woolly sweater, hat and gloves for the winter and shorts, tee shirt and a very ‘cool’ pair of shades for when the sun shone brightly! He also had a waterproof raincoat and sou’wester hat for when it rained! He really was a very well dressed bear!
When the school holidays came around, it was suggested that they should all go to Blackpool for a day. So Natalie and Fred, her Mum, her older sister Stephanie and Nana set off nice and early. They arrived in Blackpool at about ten o’clock in the morning.
The first place they visited was the Pleasure Beach, an enormous fun fair with huge roller-coaster rides, roundabouts and mysterious rides that seemed to go underground and into fairy grottoes! It was a wonderful place! Natalie and her family went on a new ride called, ‘Valhalla!’ It was a boat ride that took them along an artificial river and then climbed up a mountain and through a waterfall!
After the Pleasure Beach, they caught a tram-car and went along the promenade until they reached the Central Pier. There was a big Ferris Wheel on the pier and Stephanie wanted to go on that!
Then they all went to the famous Blackpool Tower. This is a large building surrounding the tallest structure in Britain! Inside the building there is a circus, a beautiful ballroom, lots of bars and tea-rooms and Jungle Jim’s! A great play area for children. They didn’t have time to take the lift to the top of the tower but promised themselves that they would when they next came to Blackpool.
After the visit to the tower, they all decided to get on a bus which took them to Stanley Park. This was situated about three miles inland from the sea. Stanley Park is a beautiful park with a boating lake. Natalie wanted to go on the boats so Mum and Nana sat at the side and watched as both Stephanie and Natalie climbed into their motor boat and set off around the lake. When they returned, everyone had an ice-cream and then noticed that the time had come to get the bus home. They all agreed that it had been a wonderful day.
They had just arrived at the bus station when Natalie let out a great cry, “Fred! Where is he? I can’t find him!” “Are you sure that you brought him?” asked Natalie’s Mum. “Yes, of course!”. Said Natalie, “I always take him wherever I go. Have you got him?” She looked accusingly at her sister. “No I haven’t” answered Stephanie, “But I did see him on your knee when we were coming on the bus”.
“Well we will just have to re-trace our steps”, said Nana. If we go back to all of the places that we visited, we will probably find him”. “But that will make us terribly late getting home”, said Natalie’s Mum. “That doesn’t matter”, went on Nana, “We must try to find Fred before we go home or we never will!”
So they took a taxi and returned to all of the places that they had visited. They went to the last place first, Stanley Park. They called at the ice-cream stall and then the boat rides. The lady at the stall remembered them all but said she hadn’t seen Fred. The man in charge of the boats was very kind, he was just tying them all up for the day and looked in every one, but there was no sign of the teddy bear.Natalie was getting very upset.
Next on the list was the tower. The Commissionaire at the door was very sympathetic, “I’ll ask around the building”, he said. He went into the circus, then to Jungle Jim’s. He asked the cleaning staff in the ballroom, then he looked in the tea-room where they had refreshments. All of the staff members were very helpful, but no one had seen Fred.
Then they returned to the Central Pier and asked at the Ferris Wheel, but no one there had seen the missing teddy bear either. They went back to the Pleasure Beach and visited all of the rides. The story was the same, everyone was helpful and really looked everywhere but Fred was nowhere to be found.
It was a very sad and tearful Natalie that eventually had to admit that he was probably lost forever and that they might as well go home. They went back to the bus station. It was by now quite late and the bus that they would be catching was the last one back home. They sat in the waiting room, thinking about the sad ending to what had been a lovely day.
Eventually the bus arrived and as they climbed aboard, the bus driver said, “Hello, you all came in on my bus this morning. I was hoping you would be coming back with me” He looked at Natalie. “I think you will have some explaining to do young lady – look who you left behind!” He reached over his driving wheel and lifted a small furry teddy bear from the top of his dash board. It was Fred!
Natalie screamed with delight as she reached for her teddy bear. “Oh Fred” she said, “I am sorry. I was so excited about getting to Blackpool that I must have forgotten to pick you up when we got off the bus!” “I found him under the seat” said the bus driver. “He’s been back and forward with me three times! He will be able to drive the bus to Blackpool himself by now, I shouldn’t wonder!”
Everybody laughed at the bus driver's joke and Natalie thanked him for looking after Fred all day. Then feeling very tired, she slept with Fred cuddled tightly in her arms all the way home.
Copyright Leslie Melville 2003.
N.B. In my 'telling' of this story, I make it inter-active. I invite the children in my audience to nominate the various locations that are visited by the family on their day out in Blackpool.
Then, when they re-trace the locations in their search for 'Fred', the children are asked to remember - in reverse order - where the family have to go to find him.
It doesn't have to be Blackpool of course! Any popular tourist location with which the children in the audience are familiar would be just as suitable.
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