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Corduroy is a 1968 children's book written and illustrated by Don Freeman, and published by Viking Press. Based on a 2007 online poll, the National Education Association named the book one of its "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children." It was one of the "Top 100 Picture Books" of all time in a 2012 poll by School Library Journal.
Don Freeman said that he had an idea of writing a story taking place in a department store, in which a character wanders around after the doors close. He wanted the storyline to portray a difference between the luxury of such department store and the simple life most people live, at the same time highlighting basic values. The bear's name comes from another children's book by Don Freeman, Corduroy, the Inferior Decorator, which tells about a boy driving his parents crazy by painting on their apartment's walls. The book was never published, but Freeman reused the boy's name when writing Corduroy.
The book was rejected when first sent to Freeman's publisher, Viking Press. The writer then sent it to a number of other publishers, who also provided him with negative feedback. Freeman presented the book once again to Viking Press and was finally given a chance.
Don Freeman created a sequel, A Pocket for Corduroy, in 1978. In 2006, children's book author B. G. Hennessy published Corduroy Lost and Found as a sequel to Don Freeman's original works. A special 40th anniversary edition of Corduroy was released in 2008.
The book tells the story of a teddy bear named Corduroy, displayed on a toy shelf in a department store. One day, a young girl named Lisa arrives at the store with her mother and spots the bear. She is eager to buy him, but her mother refuses to spend more money and notices a button is missing from his overalls.
After they leave, little Corduroy decides to find the missing button himself and goes on a trip around the department store after it closes in the evening. He goes upstairs and finds furniture he had never seen before, including beds and mattresses. Thinking that one of the mattress buttons is the one he is missing, he pulls hard on it and eventually topples from the bed, knocking over a lamp. The store security guard hears the noise, discovers the bear and returns him to his place.
The next day, Lisa comes back with the money she had found in her piggy bank and finally buys Corduroy. At home, she sews a button on his shoulder strap and the book ends with them saying that they had always wanted a friend and hugging each other.