Some time ago, Fudgy bear came to stay. He’s settled in beautifully and now lives very happily in Little I’s playroom. He can often be found snuggling up with Upsy Daisy and baby Barry (who happens to be a girl!) in the dolls crib.
Fudgy arrived in his very own canvas bag, along with a selection of his books in which he takes the star part. I happened to be in London working the day he came knocking on our door, and when I phoned Little I before bedtime for a quick chat she very excitedly told me about her new friend Fudgy. That evening she cuddled up as usual with Daddy for a bedtime story, but this time there was a new dimension to the storytelling. She was snuggling up with a real life Fudgy, who was also the lead character in her story.
It’s such a simple but compelling idea. Why not create a cuddly, loveable character who helps children to learn through play. “I chose a teddy for this purpose as I wanted to keep things simple given the age range I wanted to capture (pre-school children). I also wanted to create a tactile toy that was soft and comforting,” explains mother and barrister Sarah Marley, the creator of Fudgy bear.
Little I has loved her books from a very young age, but I imagine Fudgy could be a great way of enticing less enthusiastic readers to sit down and listen to a story. Additionally I wonder if he might help some children to develop a stronger sense of imagination by engaging with Fudgy within his books, and then creating their own exciting adventure for their Fudgy bear afterwards.
Child psychologist, Amanda Gummer, who has given Fudgy her seal of approval, explains: “Learning is more effective when a child feels calm and secure. If parents spent time reading whilst the child cuddles the toy, the child will associate Fudgy with positive feelings of security, calmness, love and happiness. Cuddling Fudgy can recreate those feelings and hope a child cope with challenges they face.”
The Fudgy books have a strong educational and interactive focus. A few months ago Little I enjoyed reading books that asked her to do something, such as count the number of shells on the beach. But more recently I have found that she gets so absorbed in a story that she finds such activities to be an unwelcome distraction, and rebels against doing them. “Just read the story, Mummy,” she’ll say. At the moment it seems Little I has outgrown the Fudgy books, but once she begins reading for herself, I am sure she will return to them as the words are clearly printed for young readers.
Fudgy bear himself is really well made, modelled on a classic teddy bear, by a British company. He is suitable from birth and had ‘Fudgy’ embroidered on one of his paws to make him instantly recognisable.
Please visit the Fudgy bear website for more information and prices. He would make a very special birthday present and is the sort of teddy that would last a lifetime. I still have my very first teddy!