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Teddy's Button Review by Karen Waide

Amy LeFeuvre
Lamplighter Publishing
Lamplighter Ministries International
23 State St.
Mount Morris, NY 14510

We had the privilege of reviewing the children’s book titled Teddy’s Button written by Amy LeFeuvre. This book is a part of the the Lamplighter Collection from Lamplighter Publishing, a publishing company that publishes wholesome, character-building books. This specific collection is made up of rare books from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.

We received a hardcover copy of Teddy’s Button, which is available from Lamplighter Publishing for $19. It is recommended for children ages 6-11. My children range in age from 5-10, and they all enjoyed this story. This book is 160 pages long, which includes a preface at the beginning and a list of Lamplighter books in the back.

Teddy’s Button is a story that was originally written in 1896. It takes place in a village in England. Little Teddy Platt is enamored by soldiers who are in the Queen’s army because his father was a soldier who died in battle. He loves to tell the story of his father’s death, though it is said the story has become quite embellished in the retellings. He is extremely proud of his father and the button he gave him. In fact, he feels as if he would die if he were to ever be parted from it. He is also one who tends to get into mischief and fights, figuring if soldiers can fight, little boys should be able to as well. In fact, he is so set on becoming a soldier he insists that he must have an enemy to fight, even though his mother tells him it is important to live in peace.

At the very beginning of the story, we are introduced to a little girl named Nancy, who becomes quite the little antagonist for little Teddy. In their first encounter, she accuses him of lying about the button and the story about his father. Their bickering goes back and forth, centered around her disbelief of his story and his insistence that soldiers are better than sailors. This bothers her because her father is in the navy. This fighting comes to a head one Sunday in church. Teddy had promised to be good, yet after getting into a contest of wills from across the church, Nancy stuck her tongue out at him, and Teddy, forgetting his promise, yelled “I hate you!” to the little girl.

This is a turning point in the story, as Teddy finds himself invited to the rector’s house for tea. He knew how naughty he had been and wasn’t sure what was in store for him. The rector, Mr. Upton, thoughtfully told Teddy to think upon 1 John 3:15, a reminder that if we hate someone it is the same as murdering them. He explained that the root of murder is anger. Then, he let Teddy explain why he was so upset with Nancy. Teddy then relished in the opportunity to again share the story of his button. Learning how much being a soldier meant to Teddy, Mr. Upton used this to his advantage to encourage him to think about being in the Lord’s army. He explains the importance of holding up Christ’s colors or banner, the banner of love.

Throughout the remainder of the book, we see a young boy who is newly enlisted in the Lord’s army, struggling to do the right thing, fighting against his biggest enemy, himself. In fact, he even gives his naughty self a name. We see several examples of him sharing his faith in earnest, because it is important to him that others enlist and fight for the Lord. He learns that he needs to show love to everyone, even those who want to fight with him, and this of course includes little Nancy. He is a boy who now feels remorse when he does wrong and struggles to remember to do right before he gives into the temptation to do wrong.

Toward the end of the book, even though Teddy and Nancy have been getting along, in a moment of temptation Nancy and Teddy end up fighting over the button, which had come loose from his jacket. The button is lost in the river, and Teddy dives head first in to retrieve it. Disaster strikes, and things are looking grim. The rest of the story shows just how miraculous God can be.

Teddy’s Button is a wonderful story of salvation and learning to show love to all, even those who we don’t get along with. We see the importance of sharing the gospel with non-believers as well. I have to admit, I never quite understood what it meant to have God’s banner of love over us quite as clearly as I do now. The footnotes at the bottom of some of the pages in this Lamplighter edition really do help the reader to understand more difficult words and expressions. This is definitely a book I highly recommend.

- Product review by Karen Waide, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2017