Lucy’s Lovey (Christy Ottaviano Books) grew out of numerous inspirations: My own childhood lovey experience, watching a niece line up and call off the names of all her beloved stuffies and dollies, in-depth dolly discussions with a charming little girl who comes to The Toy Soldier, and all the bedraggled and beloved loveys I’ve met while working at the toy store.
While Lucy’s lovey is a smelly doll, the book serves a universal purpose in speaking to, and celebrating, all childhood loveys, whether they are dolls, stuffed animals, blankies, etc, that both comfort and offer unique companionship to children. I always feel honored when a child shares their lovey with me. And when I come across a lost lovey, I have to rescue it. In most cases, I’ve been able to reunite it with Their Child.
As a child, I loved both dolls and stuffed animals, actively playing with both for many, many years. I collected Madame Alexander dolls, and enjoyed hours of creative play with Betsy Wetsy, though I kept telling my mother that I wish they’d given the doll a different name as I did endure teasing at school and on the bus, having been given the nickname (Betsy) at birth.
My first lovey, Little Bear, the one beloved toy who went everywhere with me and slept next to me at night, is currently living in the Land of Lost Loveys, though his name lived on when another bear came into my life as I was turning five. The 4-inch, 5-way jointed mohair Steiff bear was immediately dubbed Little Bear, too. Cousin Bear soon joined, and the two tiny bears never complained when I dressed them in homemade felt vests and pants. My mother even taught me how to make teeny tiny newspaper hats for the bears, and the three of us would wear these hats when we would explore the backyard. (As a child, I was largely influenced by (obsessed with) the children’s book series The Lonely Doll. My Steiff bears, Little Bear and Cousin Bear, still live with me today.
Today my writing room is run by stuffies, all of which my grandkids love to play with, the current favorites being Bossy Frog and Baby Boss Frog.
Betsy Devany writes realistic fiction for children of all ages. She lives near Mystic, CT with her rescue cat, Terrapin; her rescue dog, Buddy; her faithful friend, Norman the gorilla, the largest of Betsy’s loveys; and a slew of wildlife who inhabit her backyard, including Wombat, the resident groundhog. When not writing, Betsy is either photographing the extraordinary within the ordinary; working at an old-fashioned toy store in Mystic, CT; enjoying creative play with her grandkids (many times involving loveys); reading or hiking with Buddy. A former dancer, singer and actress, Betsy is also an avid birder, who will also go out of her way to witness (and capture) a stunning sunset. Most of all, Betsy loves to laugh. And eat anything made with mangos.
Darlene here: Here’s my review of this delightful book:
“Betsy Devany’s debut PB LUCY’S LOVEY makes you want to get out your old lovey and take it for a walk. Share a meal, or make a mess. This is a charming story of a child and her favorite toy companion. Every parent and child will feel at home as they snuggle with their favorite lovey to read this story over and over again. The illustrations add a level of sweetness and humor to the story that reminded me of the VELVETEEN RABBIT for the very young. Delightful!”
Betsy and I would LOVE to hear from readers about their favorite childhood lovey. Anyone care to share?