Teddy Bears and Doodlebugs

ISBN: 978 1 84624 452 0
Review Date:

Full Title: Teddy Bears and Doodlebugs: A London Child's View of World War Two

Children perceived events much differently than adults would. Author Jacqueline Hollings provided a peek into a child's view, her own, of the war in her book Teddy Bears and Doodlebugs. When the war began for the United Kingdom in 1939, she was only eight years old; when the war ended in 1945, she was still only fourteen years old. A field mouse sneaking into the Anderson shelter, gathering around the radio for "Children's Hour", a dart game with German leaders as targets, and having to bring a piece of rubber to school so that teachers could place it between her teeth in case she grew too fearful during an air raid... these were only a few of the trivial things unique to war time that adults, minds occupied with what they believe were more urgent matters, might overlook. Not everything was trivial, of course. The threat of German bombing loomed large for people of all ages in the London area; she wrote:

One noisy night, knowing we were all awake, Mum called us into her bedroom to see a spectacular sight from her south-facing window. A vast part of central London was on fire. Beyond the stark silhouettes of nearby houses was a huge yellow glow, darkening gradually to bright orange through red to purple. It was barely believable as we all watch awe-struck. The whole sky was aglow. Mum remarked that we were witnessing history; we would remember this sight all our lives...

To civilians in the rear, major events like fearsome battles and political conferences were indeed important, but after all was said and done, they were distant and impersonal. The war to them, then, was really the collection of mostly seemingly insignificant events such as raising chickens or waving goodbye to men in uniform. Understanding their experience would provide a rare glimpse into a different area of WW2 history not necessarily on the mind of WW2DB visitors regularly, thus Teddy Bears and Doodlebugs would be a book worth picking up, even just as a diversion.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. erin says:
29 Jun 2011 08:10:20 AM

great good fun

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