25 Christmas Banner 2014

Today’s Christmas Advent book is a gorgeously illustrated tale imported from the UK. I have been waiting for a while to see this one, and I dearly love it. The colors, the characters, the mind-blowing hand-lettering – you’ll fall in love with this bear too. Here is A Letter For Bear by David Lucas, 2013.

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First off, the size of this book is lovely. At 7 x 7.5, it is just large enough to explode with fascinating illustrations, but small enough to feel like you are holding a tiny treasure.

The main character is Bear, and he is a postman. He always had a lot of letters to deliver, but none of them were ever for him. This made him very sad. And to make matters worse, no one seemed to notice him. He always dropped letters off at closed and shuttered homes. One day, the wind went crazy and blew Bear and the letters all about. By the time he had recollected them all, the addresses were smeared. Bear had to take extra time to knock on each home to make sure he delivered the correct letter. It was a thrilling experience as he was able to meet every single creature on his route, and they were happy to meet the postman as well. Bear still went home that night to a lonely place though. An idea comes to him. He writes a whole bunch of letters and delivers them himself of course. They are invites to everyone for a Christmas party at his home. He excitedly decorates and prepares for his new friends, but then time continues to pass and no one shows up. Bear is heartbroken and heads to bed only to be surprised when suddenly everyone arrives. They party hard and have a wonderful time. And the next day, all the letters are for Bear! Everyone wrote to say thanks and finally Bear not only has received letters, but he now has friends.

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Such a simple, sweet story! I love first of all that it is about mail, actual paper and envelopes and stamps mail. And it includes Bear sending real invitations and receiving actual thank you cards. These are courtesies which seem to be going down the drain thanks to the internet. And yet, when my daughter receives an actual letter, she is ecstatic. Who am I kidding? My day brightens and my smile widens too whenever I receive something in the mail that has an actual person’s writing. Nothing can ever replace a hand-written note, in my opinion.

Now, with that tangent behind me, I know there are lots of things to get from this story: the beauty of face-to-face interactions, being brave to be the first one to try to make new friends, and not giving up hope when you feel lonely. It is indeed a Christmas book, although that part is small and not the theme. I also must point out that any DIY, crafty heart will flutter to see Bear’s ingenious method of decorating his tree. The illustrations are a marvel to take in with their bold, limited color palette and all the intricate pattern details throughout. I would think that David Lucas has a grand time creating his illustrations. They must cheer just about any heart and I hope they delight yours.

Follow along our book adventure at 25 Days of Christmas Books 2014!