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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
Moving: Teddy's Journey, written by Zara Johnston and illustrated by Dana Neuman, is a children's picture book that takes a reader through young Teddy's sadness and fear as a move to a new home begins. The book starts with Teddy waking up on the morning of the move, not wanting to leave his mates and having general anxiety over the whole situation. Teddy's mum consoles him, validating his feelings and assuring him that all will be well. When we first see Teddy and his father together, it is clear that they are an armed forces family, and the move is tied to their military service. Teddy is reluctant to embrace the new house and the new school, but as the day moves on Teddy finds himself surrounded by the support and friendships that help him to accept and find contentment in the new environment.
When I picked this book up...or rather, when my daughter picked this book out, I didn't actually realize that it would serve a greater purpose than just being a story about a kid who doesn't want to move. Not that those books aren't amazing in their own right, but there are so many that it's rare to find something that stands out. This was the first real introduction my daughter had to the reality of service families having to relocate and start all over, and it was like a dam bursting open in her little head. She was intrigued, tracing her fingers over Teddy wrapped in his father's fatigues, and even asking me to wait before turning the page to take it all in. Dana Neuman's illustrations are glorious in full color that blends caricature and realism seamlessly together. Where the usual star of a children's book is in the illustrations, I found Zara Johnston's narrative to be equally important and perfectly suited for young readers. The questions that followed about what life is like for military children and how often they move turned into a conversation about how to be especially kind to new classmates. Really, just an all-round spectacular book for military children and others who are facing a move, and for the children who will be there in their new town to welcome them home.