This small format picture book takes the form of a graphic novel. Red Ted has been left behind on the train and is taken to lost property where he is placed on a shelf beside Crocodile. After initial despair Red Ted is determined to be reunited with his owner Stevie who loves him ‘as much as she loves cheese’ and he works out how to escape. Crocodile follows him and the pair find their way out of the station where they encounter a cheese loving cat who ‘thinks’ she knows where Red Ted lives. After some tribulations Stevie and Red Ted are reunited and there is also a home for Crocodile and the cat.
There is a dreamlike quality to this tale of the courageous little bear, the pessimistic Crocodile and the mysterious, slightly sinister cheese eating cat. Does she really know where Red Ted lives? It is telling how, as Red Ted and Crocodile hammer at Stevie’s front door – the dramatic climax of the story – the cat, emotionally detached from the drama, looks knowingly over her shoulder at the reader. She is involved but maintains an ironic distance.
Joel Stewart’s superb artwork captures the surreal, fragmented nature of dream states with his muted urban backgrounds reminiscent of faded old photographs against which the characters are picked out with colour. And what is ‘cheese’? Stevie and the cat love it, Red Ted smells of it. Whether young readers like cheese or not in real life, they will understand what it stands for in this multi-layered, engrossing drama.