About the book
New Zealand is going into lockdown, and the prime minister has called on the country’s teddy bears to become essential workers. She’s asking them to take up window duties to comfort children whose lives have been changed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the seaside suburb of Eastbourne, two friends, Uncle Squirrel and Pūhoi Pete, take this very seriously but are disappointed to discover that they can’t be seen from their window because they aren’t very big. Then Pūhoi Pete has an idea. It’s something Jacinda Ardern said:
‘You may not be at work but that does not mean you don’t have a job. Your job is to stop the virus. Save lives. Stay at home. Be kind.’
The teds hug each other. What a relief! They have a role to play after all. Now they just have to work out what that involves …
Every day of lockdown, Ann Garry posted the daily doings of the two small bears – as recorded in Uncle Squirrel’s diary – on the Eastbourne Community Facebook page. They quickly became essential reading, showing the strange new way of living and providing a moment to laugh or reflect. Gathered into a book, they stand as a reminder of a time that drew us all together in the face of the unimaginable.