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Ted Ted and the Dhobi GhatsTed Ted and the Dhobi Ghats

Alexandra Carey

  • Children's

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Why I wrote this book

The story of Ted Ted and the Dhobi Ghats is actually a true one. When my daughter was about 7 we went on holiday to Mumbai in India. She left her very special teddy bear down the bottom of the bed and so he was taken away with the sheets and sent to the laundry. Thus he ended up at the Dhobi Ghats, a massive 2 km square open-air laundry where all the washing is done by hand. My daughter was absolutely distraught but thankfully the hotel manager was a very kind, determined man who set off on his bike to retrieve the teddy. When we got Ted Ted back we talked a great deal about his adventure and all the things he must have seen and so on the second leg of our holiday, while sitting by the poolside, we wrote his story. When I got home, I realised that it was a classic tale of love and loss and reunion that everyone can relate to and so decided to get it published. It has indeed proved very popular – I’ve had hundreds of comments, emails and letters from parents and children who’ve had similar experiences. So far, we have sold well over a thousand copies and donated all the profits to a charity in India called Door Step School that provides schooling for slum children. The Ted Ted books are illustrated by Antonia Ghazlan.


A beautiful hardback story book which follows the adventures (and misadventures) of a much-loved English teddy bear who gets lost (and found) in the extraordinary Indian city of Mumbai.

Ted Ted, his friend Tilly and the rest of the family explore the breath-taking sights, smells, noises and contrasts of a new country and, along the way, learn all about love, loss and… laundry. Suitable for children aged 5 to 10.



Alexandra Carey’s simple story of one child’s enduring love for her teddy bear has UMAPAGAN AMPIKAIPAKAN completely endeared CHILDREN are famously fickle when it comes to things like literature. So much so that children’s books are an exercise in attention grabbing: swift set ups, short sentences, gaudy garish illustrations. They are books that have, for the most part, become entirely functional; a matter of reading something — anything — of getting the message across as quickly and as concisely as possible before placing the kids back in front of the television, the iPad, the Internet.

Alexandra Carey’s effort is a breath of fresh of air. It is an old-fashioned yarn. There are no over-indulgent metaphors. There are no overwrought lessons on how to be eco-friendly. There are no tired tirades on the importance of wildlife protection. She doesn’t preachify. She doesn’t moralise. She doesn’t try to educate. She just tells a story for the sake of it. Coupled with that are Antonia Ghazlan’s understated illustrations. They depict scenes rather than explain them. They are subtle and supplemental. As they should be. They elevate the story without overshadowing it. As they should do.

Ted Ted is a much-loved teddy bear who, while on a trip to India, gets left behind at the hotel room by his beloved owner, Tilly, and gets mistakenly taken away with the washing. He ends up at the famous Dhobi Ghats of Mumbai where the washermen there are thrilled to find him among the sheets and adopt him as one of their own. Young Tilly, however, is devastated and the hotel manager at The Royal Bombay Yacht Club offers to cycle down to the river in an attempt to find the missing bear.

It is a simple story. But one that is rich in detail. Alexandra Carey takes us on a journey of discovery, through the streets of Mumbai, with its colourful culture, with its collection of misfits, with its collage of sights and cacophony of sounds. It is a sampling of what life is like there. She describes everything from the poverty to the pot holed roads to the mangy street dogs. She treats us to a brief but all-encompassing history of the city and its people. It is a simple story. But one that is rich in heart. The emotions that she draws upon are real. The feelings that she portrays are familiar. Of love and loss. Of the anxiety and heartbreak of being torn apart. Of the tremendous relief that comes with being reunited.

It is a simple story. But one that is immediately relatable. To children. To adults. To anyone who has ever had a favourite toy. And therein lies the secret to a successful children’s book. In being able to create that connection. In being able to bridge that gap between grownup and child.

Amazon: C Shaw (5 stars) – Lovely Adventure Story

This is a lovely story with an unusual setting and a heartwarming ending. Ted Ted is a much-loved bear, best friend of a little girl called Tilly, who goes on holiday to Mumbai with her parents. One day, Ted-Ted finds himself getting bundled up in bedlinen at the hotel, and taken to the Dhobi-Ghats, where he gets a bear's-eye view of the sights and sounds of the city. Meanwhile, Tilly is having her own, rather different tour of Mumbai. Charmingly told and beautifully illustrated, this is a children's book with a difference. Highly recommended. Carlos

Nutmeg (5 stars) – Delightful story and introduction to Mumbai.

This is a beautifully produced and charming book suitable for the 6-12 age group I would guess. Based, I am told, on a true story, it introduces younger readers to Mumbai with all its rich and varied contrasts. The story is genuinely engaging and original and brings out the "real" India without sugar-coating or Westernised sentimentality. Ideal for younger children visiting India. The illustrations are a delight - reminiscent of Edward Ardizzone's Tim and Lucy books or the Eloise series. The proceeds go to a Mumbai-based street charity so young readers can feel they are helping the children of Mumbai. – 5 stars

Witty and charming story By Emma Louise Ted Ted's first adventure saw him lost in the Dhobi Ghats of Mumbai. His second outing takes him to Tokyo, where Tilly and her family are on holiday. When he falls out of Tilly's backpack on the crowded subway (complete with a sumo wrestler) on the first morning of sightseeing, it is then that his adventures begin. This is another beautifully produced story from Alexandra Carey and Antonia Ghazlan. It is a wittily told and charmingly illustrated book perfect for the 6-10 age group. I agree with the reviewer who compared it to Edward Ardizzone - this is Ardizzone for the 21st century. Ted Ted deserves to become a classic children's character. – 5 stars

An original and lovely story By C. McDougall Ted Ted's second adventure is just as exciting and charming as the first. My children love it. We can't wait for the next installment.

About the Author

Alexandra Carey Alexandra Carey grew up and used to live in Suffolk, England. She worked in the classical music business until 2006 when she moved to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where she now lives with her husband, two children, dog, two cats, two terrapins and the occasional snake. She works part-time teaching Burmese refugee children. Her first children’s book, Ted Ted and the Dhobi Ghats (2010) was based on the true story of a family holiday in Mumbai, India where her young daughter lost her teddy bear. This was followed in 2012 by Ted Ted, Trouble in Tokyo - once again based on a family holiday – this time in Japan’s capital city.

Book info

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40 pages


Alexandra Carey


Haddon Books

Publication date

26th October 2010

Author's Website