The bear who saved Christmas
- Credit: courtesy of Amsterdam Publishing
The adventures of Cedric the Bear are an unusual collaboration between a writer, an illustrator and a craft maker.
Golders Green author Lucia Wilson writes the stories, illustrator Anne Bowes supplies the beautiful drawings, but it was designer-maker Katie Eggington who first created the woven cloth bear.
She featured in the 2012 BBC programme Paul Martin’s Handmade Revolution and Cedric was one of the winning designs - proudly displayed in the V&A Museum shop.
When Lucia saw a rerun of the programme four years later, she was struck by the bear and got in touch with Katie to discuss a series of children's stories.
"Writers just get ideas from anything and everything," said Wilson. "The actual design is a lovely physical bear, and he had such character to his facial expression. I thought it would be lovely to write some stories about this bear."
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Wilson knew Bowes, who had lived for years in Hampstead Garden Suburb, and invited her to collaborate. The trio then brought Cedric to life in a book of stories, including Cedric at The Museum, based on Cedric's spell at the V&A, which features Kate as his maker.
Now the helpful bear is starring in a Christmas story which is free to download, where he saves Christmas when the elves have to self isolate.
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"As a team we were a bit nervous about whether to include covid-19 in a children's story, but we did a bit of research and our feedback encouraged us. Like every good children's story it ends well."
Far from simply stitching together Cedric's seams, Eggington is an active participant in developing the books.
"I spent a lot of time asking Kate what is his character? He is very helpful, kind and polite, a modest superhero. I check things with her, or run a story by her, and she says 'no Cedric wouldn't do that!' It sounds odd but he is so real to us. While each of us has our own area, it's a real team effort!"
Amsterdam Publishers have ensured The Adventures of Cedric the Bear have gone worldwide. They include Cedric and the Button Bear, the story of a small teddy who gets separated from his human family in a house move and ends up as a Button Bear for a mean tailor.
And Cedric in Paris, the story of Velours, a disabled cat who becomes a Pet Paralympian and the favourite to win Le Grand Dash. But will she miss the race to help find a missing disabled master?
Download the Christmas story at https://cedricthebear.com/