After putting the first mouse on the first Ferris wheel and then in the first airplane, Gene Bradbury is readying readers for a different adventure.
The Sequim author is hoping readers cozy up with his third illustrated book “Mischievous Max, a Teddy Bear Story.”
It follows Leon, a boy who loves teddy bears but is less enthusiastic about an odd bear he owns named Max. This bear is prickly and has golden eyes and doesn’t personify the cuddly bears Leon prefers.
Bradbury tries to put historical elements into his books and said Max is representative of the first stuffed bears that weren’t produced softer until later.
Leon’s mom encourages him to go to sleep with the bear, but Leon is hesitant because Max gets into trouble.
After some coaxing, Leon falls asleep with Max until the bear begins his mischievousness. Leon tries to stop the bear and finds himself on a fun adventure, eventually leading the boy to love his unloved bear.
Bradbury said following up his first books “The Mouse with Wheels in his Head” and “The Mouse Who Wanted to Fly” was a natural progression.
“The most common children’s books are mice and bears,” he said.
Through “Mischievous Max,” Bradbury wants to teach the lesson to children to love others who are different or unloved. He found inspiration at home with 15 teddy bears his mother-in-law Nita Wolff made.
This is his third illustrated book with Victoria Wickell-Stewart, a Port Townsend artist. “We work well together,” Bradbury said. “Every time I speak with her she tells me how much she enjoys it.”
Their next project returns to their Fergus the Mouse character who runs a lighthouse. He’ll face a hurricane and must warn his village of the oncoming storm.
Bradbury is simultaneously working on a chapter book called “Cloud Climber” about two cousins who find a kite that takes them into the sky.
He’s also planning to do more readings of his books to classrooms, churches and preschools through a PowerPoint presentation.
“Mischievous Max, a Teddy Bear Story” is recommended for ages 2-8.