Charlie's Pillow


Contains Illustrations
ISBN 0-920303-06-4





Illustrations by Gunna Grahs
Translated by Gunna Grahs
Reviewed by Lee J. McKenna


Annick Press, on the book jacket, suggests that “this is a book for everybody.” It isn’t. It has a very explicit message. Although there is nothing inherently wrong with what the book has to say, parents and librarians may wish to review the contents carefully before passing the book along to children under the age of ten. The cover art and delightful illustrations certainly make it appealing to younger children, but the content would not hold the attention of the very young, and the message is a mixed blessing for the five- to ten-year-old set.

Charlie’s Pillow is the story of a little boy who is dependent upon his teddy bear for moral support. It is originally given to him by parents who suggest that he bite it rather than them. Things get quickly out of hand, however, and Charlie’s Pillow takes the place of, in sequence, a ten-speed bike, a car, guns and ammunition, and even Charlie’s wife. He simply can’t give up the pillow. Asked to choose between his wife and his pillow, Charlie takes up drinking, loses his job, and is saved from worse fates only by the intervention of friends who understand his pillow addiction.

Everything ends up happily, but this story is far more suitable for an adult with a taste for satire than for a small child. The parents who innocently pick it up thinking it will help them to part three-year-old Suzie from that disgusting scrap of blanket she’s been carrying around are in for a shock.

It is hard to say whether it is the translation (from Swedish into English) that causes the book to have what this reviewer would describe as a slightly bizarre tone. The illustrations are wickedly funny and the reader is urged to seek out other books in which Gunna Grähs has had a hand as an artist. But do check this one out yourself before passing it on to young children.



Jaensson, Hakan, and Arne Norlin, “Charlie's Pillow,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 25, 2024,