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Literature / Corduroy

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"You must be a friend. I know I've always wanted a friend."
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Corduroy is a children's picture book by Don Freeman that was first published in 1968. It follows the story of Corduroy, a teddy bear living in the toy section of a department store. A young girl named Lisa wants to buy him, but his mother dissuades her from doing so due to the fact Corduroy is missing a button from his overalls. Realizing that his missing button is the one thing preventing him from finding a friend, Corduroy goes in search of a replacement button that night. As he explores the department store to find his precious button, our little teddy bear gets himself into different shenanigans.

The book possesses two sequels, though only the first one was done by Don Freeman, who passed away the same year it was released. The second sequel, which was done by B.G. Hennessy, has its own page.

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  • A Pocket for Corduroy (1978)
  • Corduroy Lost and Found (2006)
  • A Christmas Wish For Corduroy (2014)
  • Corduroy Takes a Bow (2018)

Corduroy and its first sequel have also been adapted into other mediums, most prominently television. There was a short telefilm of the original book produced in 1984, as well as a direct-to-video animated series called The Adventures of Corduroy in 1997 that was produced in Canada. However, it was most famously adapted in 2000 for a 13-episode series by the Canadian animation studio Nelvana for PBS Kids in the United States and TVOntario in Canada. Every episode of Nelvana's adaptation is up on Youtube through their Treehouse Direct channel.

A live-action/CGI feature film adaptation was announced on November 14th, 2016 originally by CBS Films. It wasn't until December 11th, 2020 when Tim Story was announced as the film's director, alongside Jon Dorsey (This Is Us) as the film's screenwriter, and co-produced by Walden Media.

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This picture book provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Expansion: The first episode of the direct-to-video series "Home" adapts the first book but adds more characters and expands Corduroy's story, such as his main obstacle being the Child Hater Mr. Tusk who runs the mall that Corduroy is brought to.
  • Animated Adaptation: Has received several, the most famous being in 2000 from Nelvana as a part of the PBS Kids Bookworm Bunch.
  • Artistic Age: In the direct-to-video series, Lisa is mentioned to be in second grade (putting her at about 7-8 years old) but she looks like she is about 10-12. Her younger brother Sly looks closer to being around that age.
  • Beary Friendly: Corduroy is a friendly, sweet, and curious teddy bear who gets fascinated with the outside world (mainly the department store) and loves Lisa.
  • Girls Love Stuffed Animals: Lisa brings all the money from her piggy bank so she can take Corduroy home. She makes him his own bed next to hers to sleep in, too.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: On the last page of the book, Corduroy happily announces that Lisa is a friend, and he's always wanted one of those.
  • In-Series Nickname: In the Nelvana series, Lisa frequently calls Corduroy "Cordy".
  • Living Toys: Corduroy comes to life and goes on an adventure after the store closes. He seems to be the only toy in the store capable of doing it, though he is also the only one to have a motivation to do so, looking for his lost button so someone will buy him. In the Nelvana series, he's accompanied by fellow living toys Buckaroo (a rocking horse) and Rosetta (a wind-up French rat).
  • Live-Action Adaptation:
    • The original story and it's follow up A Pocket For Corduroy was adapted into a live-action short film between 1985 (Corduroy) and 1985 (A Pocket For Corduroy). Both shorts were originally aired on American television before getting a VHS release.
    • An upcoming live-action/CGI film adaptation was announced in 2020 by Paramount and Walden Media with Jon Dorsey as the film's screenwriter and directed by Tim Story.
  • Meaningful Echo: Throughout his adventure, Corduroy comments that he thinks he's "always wanted ______." When Lisa takes him home, he says he knows he's always wanted a friend.
  • Not Where They Thought: In the first book, Corduroy mistakes a room full of beds at the mall for a palace.
  • Police Are Useless: The night security guard takes a stuffed bear as a perfectly logical explanation for the crash he heard. He puts Corduroy back on his shelf and does no further investigation into the incident.
  • Prequel: The 2014 book A Christmas Wish For Corduroy takes place before the events of the original 1968 book, which explains how Corduroy gained his signature corduroy outfit.
  • Race Lift: In the books and the Nelvana series, Lisa is black (albeit the series adds a Jamaican heritage to her and her mom). In the direct-to-video series, she is Hispanic.

 
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Corduroy

Corduroy LOVES peanut butter.

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