In their first children’s picture book, Runaway Bear, Chester D. Freeman and John E. McGuire show us all how you’re never too old to appreciate the value of a loyal Teddy bear. A timeless tale, it stresses the importance of good manners and features the handicrafts that have made them successful artists in their respective fields of Teddy bear artistry and traditional basketry.
Freeman is the world-renowned crafter of fully jointed,
handmade, mohair bears whose limited editions sell for as much as $300 in the
retail marketplace. His artistry has developed into a full-time business as he
crafts each bear himself for customers all over the globe. It began as a hobby
when Freeman was a chaplain at Amherst College. Working with students and their
problems, Freeman noticed something unusual about the therapeutic power of
bears, which he began to incorporate into his work.
"I began using Teddy bears quite extensively while
ministering to the sick at Hartford Hospital because Teddy bears seem to
have a unique ability to comfort people. As more and more people wished to
purchase my bears, I began to refocus my vocation on making bears and
watching the joy and healing powers they brought to their new owners."
He and McGuire now share a studio in Geneva, NY. McGuire is
best known for his work as one of the nation’s leading authorities on
traditional New England Splint Basketry. As a result he established a
traditional basketmaking program for the Old Sturbridge Village Museum in
Sturbridge, MA, and the Hancock Shaker Village Museum in Pittsfield, MA.
McGuire is also a published author in his field with three books and an
instructional video to his name. He juries basketry shows, exhibits his works,
and lectures throughout the country. His specialty bear backpacks have been
added to both the limited edition of the collectible bears from Runaway
Bear as well as incorporated as a special ending to the story itself.