Corduroy (book)

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Cover art
AuthorDon Freeman
IllustratorDon Freeman
Cover artistFreeman
CountryUnited States
GenreChildren's literature, picture book
PublisherViking Press
Publication date
Media typeHardcover
Preceded byN/A 
Followed byA Pocket for Corduroy 

Corduroy is a 1968 children's book written and illustrated by Don Freeman, and published by The Viking Press. Based on a 2007 online poll, the National Education Association listed the book as one of its "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children."[1] It was one of the "Top 100 Picture Books" of all time in a 2012 poll by School Library Journal.[2] The book is about the titular character, an anthropomorphic teddy bear, in a department store; his name alludes to the corduroy outfit he is wearing.


Don Freeman explained 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 was derived from another children's book by 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.[3] Secondly, it has been reported that the name Corduroy had been a nickname for his son, Roy. [4]

The book was rejected when first sent to Freeman's publisher, The 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 The Viking Press and was finally given a chance.[3]

Don Freeman wrote a sequel, A Pocket for Corduroy, in 1978 but died before it was published. In 2006, children's book author B. G. Hennessy published Corduroy Lost and Found as a sequel to Don Freeman's earlier works.[5] A special 40th anniversary edition of Corduroy was released in 2008.[6] Actress Viola Davis wrote a sequel, Corduroy Takes a Bow,[7][8] which was published by Penguin Random House on September 4, 2018.


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 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. In addition, she notices that the bear is missing a button from his overalls and points this out to the girl in an attempt to convince her that the bear isn't worth it.

At night, when the shoppers and the people of the department store have gone (and the doors are closed and locked), little Corduroy (when no one is looking) decides to find the missing button himself and goes on a trip around the department store. He rides an escalator and takes himself to the second floor. There, he finds furniture he has never seen before. Corduroy admires the furniture and crawls onto a mattress from one of the beds. Meanwhile, he sees something small and round. 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 (in the book called a "night watchman") hears the noise from the third floor, discovers the bear, and returns him downstairs to the toy department.

The next day, the girl comes back with the money she had found in her piggy bank, reveals that her name is "Lisa" and finally buys Corduroy. At home, she sews a button on his shoulder strap and the book ends with them saying that they both had wanted a friend. The picture depicts Lisa and Corduroy hugging each other.


  • Corduroy was made into a short live-action movie in 1984 by Weston Woods and Evergreen/Firehouse Productions.[9] The movie was also released on DVD in 2003.[10]
  • In 1997, a direct-to-video animated series, The Adventures of Corduroy, was produced,[11] which ran until 1999.
  • In 2000, another animated Corduroy TV series was produced in Canada, which ran on PBS Kids until 2001.[12]
  • On November 14, 2016, it was announced that Tim Story will direct a film adaptation of the story for CBS Films,[13] and Walden Media will co-develop the project with Jack and Kate Angelo writing the script.[14]
  • A stage adaptation was produced by Children's Theatre Company in 2018.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ National Education Association (2007). "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children". Archived from the original on July 30, 2013. Retrieved August 19, 2012.
  2. ^ Bird, Elizabeth (July 6, 2012). "Top 100 Picture Books Poll Results". School Library Journal "A Fuse #8 Production" blog. Archived from the original on December 4, 2012. Retrieved August 19, 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Don Freeman » The Story Behind Corduroy". Retrieved 2012-07-28.
  4. ^ "The History of Corduroy | The Official Website for Corduroy". Retrieved 2022-06-30.
  5. ^ "B.G. Hennessy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-17. Retrieved 2012-07-26.
  6. ^ Freeman, Don (2008). Corduroy (40th Anniversary Edition) (9780670063369): Don Freeman: Books. Penguin Young Readers. ISBN 978-0670063369.
  7. ^ Lee, Jarry (October 10, 2017). "Viola Davis Is Writing A Sequel To Classic Picture Book "Corduroy"". BuzzFeed. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  8. ^ Gillette, Sam (March 14, 2018). "Viola Davis Writes Sequel to Kids' Classic Corduroy: How African-American Character Inspired Her". People. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  9. ^ "Corduroy (TV 1984) - IMDb". 10 June 1984. Retrieved 2012-07-26.
  10. ^ Corduroy... and more stories about friendship (Scholastic Video Collection) (1st ed.). New Video Groump. 2003. ISBN 0-439-57854-X.
  11. ^ "The Adventures of Corduroy the Bear (1997) - IMDb". Retrieved 2014-12-04.
  12. ^ "Corduroy (TV Series 2000) - IMDb". 9 September 2000. Retrieved 2012-07-26.
  13. ^ "Tim Story to Direct Corduroy Movie". November 14, 2016. Retrieved November 14, 2016.
  14. ^ Kit, Borys (4 April 2017). "'Corduroy' Lands Brother-Sister Writing Team (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  15. ^ "Children's Theatre Company Presents World Premiere Of CORDUROY". Broadway World. 2018-02-01. Retrieved 2019-02-01.

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