Picture Books for Bedtime: Corduroy

'Corduroy' is a beloved picture book that has been read to children at bedtime for decades. First published in 1968, 'Corduroy' was written and illustrated by Don Freeman. In addition being a great bedtime story, 'Corduroy' can also inspire many activities tied to the events of the story.

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Corduroy Don Freeman

About the Story

Corduroy is the name of a stuffed bear with green overalls who, at the beginning of the story, lives in the toy department of a large department store. He spends his days on a shelf, waiting with the other toys for one of the store's many customers to take him home. Unfortunately, while many of his neighbors find owners, no one wants Corduroy.

One morning, a little girl named Lisa spots Corduroy and tells her mother that she wants him. Lisa's mother, however, points to Corduroy's missing overall button and says that he doesn't look new. After they leave, Corduroy is inspired to go looking for his missing button. He waits until the store closes, then he searches the floor for the button.

His search eventually leads him to an escalator, which he mistakes for a mountain. On the upper floor, he finds a furniture showroom, which he thinks is a palace. An uncovered mattress contains a button he believes to be his; he falls as he tries to pry it up. The noise of him falling alerts a security guard who takes Corduroy back to his shelf.

In the morning, Lisa returns with money she's saved in her piggy bank. She buys Corduroy and hurries home with him, sewing a new button on his overalls when she gets there. The story concludes with Corduroy realizing he's found a home and a friend, two things he's always wanted.

Activities Based on the Book

There are numerous ways you can take the content of this popular story for bedtime and translate it into fun activities with your child the next day. With very young or older children, you can replicate Corduroy's journey around the department store. Hide a toy bear in your home and have your child search for it, just as Corduroy searched for his button. For a more elaborate game, cut out drawings of bear paws and make a trail leading to an actual button; in this version, your child can follow Corduroy's tracks around your home and see what items he thinks might be his button.

With older children, Corduroy provides an opportunity to teach a basic sewing lesson. Just as Lisa sews a button on Corduroy's overalls, you can teach your child to sew a button, using a stuffed animal or simply a scrap of fabric. This activity teaches your child a valuable life skill while fostering a deeper connection with the events of the book.

Finally, you can make an activity based on Lisa saving her money in her piggy bank in order to buy Corduroy. Have your child identify a toy or other item that he or she wants. It's important to find something that will require some amount of saving, but not so expensive that the high cost is discouraging. Establishing a long-term goal helps your child understand the value of saving money and the satisfaction of reaching a meaningful reward.

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