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The Picture Book Buzz

Louis - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF Plus Giveaway

Many kids have a special stuffed friend. One they tote everywhere and can't sleep without. With a delicious amount of humor, Tom Lichtenheld and Julie Rowan-Zoch imagine this relationship from the stuffed friend's point of view.

Here's a sneak peek as a wonderful picture book that releases next Tuesday, October 6th. A book where all the hardships of being a stuffed sidekick are overcome by a heartfelt hug.


Author: Tom Lichtenheld

Illustrator: Julie Rowan-Zoch

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (2020)

Ages: 4-7



Friendship, humor, and a stuffed friend.


A beloved teddy can bear it no longer and plots his escape from his owner’s suffocating affections in this laugh-out-loud picture book from New York Times best-selling creator of Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site and Steam Train Dream Train fame, Tom Lichtenheld. Louis the bear has had enough.

From day one, life has been one indignity after another. If he's not being used as a hankie, he's being hung out to dry—literally. (No one likes clothespins used on their ears!) This teddy is sneaking away just as soon as he can. Then again, no use running off in the rain . . .or during a show-and-tell routine. Maybe Louis has something to lose, after all. This fresh and funny take on a teddy bear come to life is a salty and sweet, grumpy and tender, sly tribute to the ties that bind.

Opening Lines:

From day one . . .

Things have gone downhill.

I've been been a pillow . . .

a hankie . . .

and lunch for a prehistoric beast.

What I Liked about this book:

With delightfully concise text, Tom Lichtenheld shares Louis' righteous indignation at the treatment and neglect he's suffered at the hands of his kid. He's been splattered, ripped, and x-rayed (at the airport). When he's forgotten on a bus, that's the final straw and Louis is determined to run away. "The next time this kid squeezes me, I'm outta here." I love the juxtaposition of Louis' adorably grumpy face contrasted against his kid's loving face and embrace.

Text © Tom Lichtenheld, 2020. Image © Julie Rowan Zoch, 2020.

Throughout, Julie Rowan-Zoch's colorful digital illustrations portray Louis (and his kid) with a wonderful expressiveness. Louis' grouchiness at "being hung out to dry," wincing when "poked by needles," and wide-eyed anxiety at being left on the bus, beautifully convey Louis' emotions without losing the essence of him being a cherished stuffed teddy bear.

But this teddy bear's had enough. Unfortunately for Louis, things get in the way of his plan to run away. First it rains . . .

Text © Tom Lichtenheld, 2020. Image © Julie Rowan Zoch, 2020.

little sister throws a tea party - with cupcakes . . .

Text © Tom Lichtenheld, 2020. Image © Julie Rowan Zoch, 2020.

then he's the star of his kid's show-and-tell - a super, special brave bear. Finally the time arrives, he's packed his pig and . . .

This wonderfully sweet story of the bond between a child and their stuffed friend demonstrates that while life is full of bumps and bruises, hugs (and love) are magical. A special book sure to be become a treasure itself.


- Check out the fun activity/coloring sheets, including this great emotion chart at HMH's Louis book page (

- write a story, or draw a picture, of your favorite stuffed friend. What is the best thing you've done together? The scariest?

- Read Brave Enough For Two by Johnathan D. Voss and Sam and Jump by Jennifer K. Mann. What are the differences and similarities between these stuffed animals and Louis?

If you missed it, check out my interview with Julie Rowan-Zoch on Monday (here).

This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.

One lucky reader will win a copy of Louis.

- Simply comment below or on Monday's interview post (or both), to be entered in the random drawing for a copy of Louis.

- Be sure to say where you shared the post, and I'll add additional entries for you.

- Sorry, US Residents only.

Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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