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I'm trying to identify an English children's book that I read many years ago at my grandmother's house. It was a book that she herself had been given as a child, and was probably published in England in the 1920s (she was born in 1909).

I can't remember anything about the cover, but it was a small-format book for young children about the same size as those by Beatrix Potter, with text on one side and illustration opposite. The illustrations were black and white ink drawings, in silhouette.

The book followed the adventures of a small toy teddy bear. These are the adventures I can remember:

  1. The bear was given to a young girl as a present. She named it “Huff” because of the tiny sound it made when she poked its tummy with her finger: “huff!”

  2. The bear came with the girl and her family when they drove out for a picnic. The accompanying illustration included an old–style charabanc in silhouette.

  3. The family went punting, and the bear fell into the river. Picture of punt in silhouette.

  4. As the girl got older, the bear accompanied her to her first ball/dance.

  5. On the girl's wedding day, the bear came too, I think hidden in her dress. The illustration showed the newlyweds driving away in an open car, with something tied to the rear bumper - perhaps an old boot, or perhaps the bear?

I was until recently sure that the book was called “A Bear Called Huff”, or something similar, but I’ve been unable to find anything by that title in the British Library main catalogue. I've searched fairly extensively, and have excluded all books in the catalogue published between 1910 and 1933 with either “Huff" or “Bear” anywhere in the title. Perhaps I've conflated the title with the bear's first adventure.

  • Regarding the title, could you be conflating it with the rather famous book A Bear Called Paddington? – Rand al'Thor May 13 at 19:18
  • I was just about to say 'definitely not' as I've always known both books and they're quite different - but memory's a funny thing, and perhaps I've heard "A Bear Called ..." so often over the years that that's taken over the real title of the book I'm looking for. Not impossible. – MichaelMaggs May 13 at 19:31
  • Approximately how old were you? A Bear Called Paddington was first published in 1958 (from my research) and doesn't seem to fit your description of the book – North May 13 at 23:05
  • Have you tried the library of congress? I tried looking some stuff on there, but couldn't find anything you were describing: who knows though, maybe it could be there. If you find it, be sure to answer your own question: i'm curious to know what book this is, too. – North May 14 at 0:59
  • I probably read it when I was seven or eight and it’s definitely quite different from Paddington. I have tried the LoC but didn’t find anything. – MichaelMaggs May 14 at 2:43

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