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Teddy Bear Doctor: A Let's Make & Play Book- Be A Vet & Fix The Boo-Boos of Your Favorite Stuffed Animals Review by Karen Waide

Deanna F. Cook
Storey Publishing
210 MASS MoCA Way
North Adams, MA 01247

My children love to use their imaginations. From my experience, most children share this creative trait. Recently, my daughter has been having a blast taking care of her stuffed animals. It was with her in mind that I requested to review this great activity book by Deanna F. Cook titled, Teddy Bear Doctor: A Let's Make & Play Book- Be A Vet & Fix The Boo-Boos of Your Favorite Stuffed Animals. This soft cover, 9 ¼ by 12 inch book contains 72 fun-filled pages to help a child (or children) take the best care of their stuffed animals as they can. You can purchase the activity book for $10.95.

Teddy Bear Doctor is divided into two parts. The first 52 pages contain the instructions for a child to make their very own pet clinic. This section is divided into four chapters, each of which focus on a different aspect of the clinic. The second half of the book is devoted to the forms, signs, pop-out props, and stickers needed for play. In addition to these fun pages, you will need to supply some simple household items to complete the Do-It-Yourself projects.

Chapter 1 is titled Open Your Vet Practice!. In this chapter you will find instructions for the projects that will allow the child to dress like a real veterinarian. Using simple supplies such as a t-shirt, pipe cleaners, bottle caps, a large button, glue, tape, scissors and the templates or stickers from the back of the book, the child will be able to make a lab coat, headlamp, doctor glasses, a vet tech hat, and a stethoscope. Of course, the vet wouldn't be ready to care for patients without all sorts of cool doctor supplies, so you will learn how to make a pencil thermometer, eye & ear scope, squirt bottle syringe, and a pet vet kit to store all the necessary supplies. Again, simple household objects are used, such as a pencil, pencil-top eraser, cone-shaped plastic cap, marker, soap bottle pump, lip balm tube, glue container lid and a box with a hinged lid.

In Chapter 2, Welcome to the Waiting Room!, the child is given instructions for creating a welcoming space for the animals to wait. Signs are included in the book to make the environment resemble a real waiting room. Instructions are included for setting up a front desk and filing cabinet.

In Chapter 3, Right This Way to the Exam Room!, the child learns how to set up a space to take care of the animal friends. More signs and forms are provided for this section of the pet clinic, and to make it more realistic a list of needed supplies is included. It is suggested that the exam room contain such things as a scale, tape measure, clipboard, jars of cotton balls/swabs, small tables, and a stocked pharmacy. This pharmacy will can be made with little jars and bottles, filled with simple objects, and labeled with the stickers from the back of the book.

The final chapter, Chapter 4, is titled Rest Up in the Recovery Room. Again, instructions are given for creating a special space, this time one that will help keep the animals who have to stay overnight comfy and cozy. It is recommended to find supplies around the house to keep on the shelves, in addition to cardboard cages for the animals to sleep in. There are also instructions for wheelchairs, ID collars, and lampshade collars.

Teddy Bear Doctor is filled with fun pictures of children taking care of their stuffed animals. The instructions for the projects are inset on the page and include a needed materials list and step-by-step instructions. Additionally, you will find role playing ideas to get the child started, plus “Ask the Vet” question and answer sections. These sections give the child important facts in such subjects as why vets wear scrubs, what happens when a heart beats, why vets give pets a massage, among other interesting bits of information.

The book is written to the child, though a parent will have to read most of the instructions, especially for younger children. Older children will be able to work mostly independently on these projects, except in places where the book specifically tells the child to ask a grown up for help. Younger children will need quite a bit more help.

The children were so excited to receive this book. Even before attempting to create a clinic, they wanted to use the ideas to start taking care of their “stuffies.” Suddenly their pets needed glasses, broke their leg or hurt their foot and needed wheelchairs, or ended up with various bumps and bruises requiring bandages. Though we didn't have all the recommended materials, the children were able to use the ideas in the books along with their own imaginations to create things in different ways. For example, wheelchairs were made out of waffle blocks and had wheels taped on.

When we had enough cardboard boxes gathered, they helped me make cages for the recovery room. We needed to have four boxes so each child could have a cage for one special animal. They then added blankets, food bowls, and toys. They spent time decorating the play room as well. This is going to be an ongoing project for the children and myself, which has resulted in some great mommy/children time. Setting up the clinic will take some time because we didn't have all the materials we needed at first. However, the children have been using their imaginations to use what we do have available while we wait.

Though children can use their imaginations just fine without a book, the ideas in Teddy Bear Doctor help to enhance playtime. For example, the stickers help the supplies to look much more realistic, the signs give a professional feel to the clinic, and the do-it-yourself projects are quite unique. Who would have thought to use a soap dispenser attached to a glue lid and a chap-stick tube to make a syringe? This all adds to the fun of the imaginative play.

The major concern I have had, is that we haven't been able to get all the supplies right away. We have yet to finish our mustard so we can have a mustard lid, and I am not sure it will work as it is a bit different than the one pictured. Our soap dispenser pump is designed differently too, so the syringe isn't working quite the same. However, as I mentioned earlier, the lack of materials isn't all bad, as the children have been stretching their imaginations to make things work.

If you have little ones, between the ages of 3 and 8 who love to use their imaginations and take care of their stuffed animals, this will be a great book to help them expand their creativity and find new ways to care for their friends. It can be used by one child or by a group of children. Lots of fun is to be had with this book. I highly recommend it.

-Product Review by Karen Waide, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, February, 2016