Then one morning a little girl stopped and looked straight into Corduroy's bright eyes. "Oh, Mommy!" she said. "Look! There's the very bear I've always wanted." (3)
By the third page, readers are already rooting for Corduroy to find acceptance. We can almost hear the hope flooding into his fuzzy little heart—not only does Lisa want to give him a home, but she declares that he's the bear she's always wanted.
Illustration on page 4: Corduroy and Lisa isolated.
Freeman makes an interesting choice here: Every other page contains a complete illustration, but on this page, he only draws Corduroy sadly watching Lisa and her mother walk away, with a strip of scenery connecting his two "lead characters" on an otherwise blank canvas.
By leaving the scenery out of this drawing, Freeman effectively communicates how isolated Corduroy feels and how badly he wants to go home with Lisa—it's as if the entire world fades away when she leaves.
"I like you the way you are," she said, "but you'll be more comfortable with your shoulder strap fastened." (27)
This quote is basically exactly what Corduroy has always dreamed of hearing from a child. Not only does Lisa affirm that she accepts and loves Corduroy even with his missing button, but she thinks about what might make him happy—a stark contrast from the days when Corduroy felt invisible on the toy store shelf.
Suddenly he felt the floor moving under him! Quite by accident he had stepped onto an escalator—and up he went! "Could this be a mountain?" he wondered. "I think I've always wanted to climb a mountain." (8-9)
Here we see Corduroy's curiosity and bravery working together. Corduroy has never even been on an escalator and doesn't know what it is, but he's not scared. Instead, he's curious about this new experience and decides to make the best of it.
"Why, here's my button!" he cried. And he tried to pick it up. But, like all the other buttons on the mattress, it was tied down tight. He yanked and pulled with both paws until POP! (13)
Corduroy demonstrates bravery with his willingness to continue pulling on the button even though it's "tied down tight." He believes he's finally found his Holy Grail, and nothing will stop him from getting it.
Illustration on pages 10-11: Corduroy in the furniture section
This two-page spread is the largest illustration in the book. We almost don't notice tiny little Corduroy over in the bottom left corner, surrounded by huge pieces of vibrantly colored furniture. Readers might feel a little overwhelmed, but not brave Corduroy, who is amazed and excited to find himself in such a beautiful "palace."
Illustration on p. 23: The saleslady pulls Corduroy off the shelf for Lisa.
On page 2, we get a sense of both the grandeur and the loneliness of the department store. The store is big and crowded, but nobody is looking at Corduroy except for Lisa.
Contrast that with this illustration on page 23. Every single character is looking at Corduroy, even his stuffed shelfmates. Freeman uses eye contact to represent the connection Corduroy lacked in the department store. Once Lisa has Corduroy in her arms, she doesn't take her eyes off him for the remainder of the story.
Illustration on p. 10-11: Corduroy in the furniture section.
This picture already got a shout-out as a representation of the Curiosity/Bravery theme, but it's worth doubling down here as well. This is the largest illustration in the book, clearly meant to represent the sheer massiveness of most department stores.
Beyond that, the furniture pieces are drawn haphazardly around the page, not seemingly organized or connected in any way. The department store is luxurious and impersonal, while Lisa's room is sparsely decorated but cozy.
Illustration on p. 26: Lisa's room
Freeman makes some interesting color choices on this page. Throughout the book, his cheerful yellows and pinks highlighted the department store during the day, while deep blues and blacks washed over the store after closing hours. Lisa's room features a mix of all the other colors used in the book, possibly signaling that it will be a permanent home for Corduroy to spend all of his days and nights.