Megumi and the Bear
by Irma Gold, illustrated by Craig Phillips
Megumi went to the forest one winter morning and finds a bear. They became friends and plays together. This is a beautifully told story about a friendship, how Megumi misses the bear when she couldn’t find the bear one afternoon and her heart breaks. She waited and waited for the bear to no avail, until spring came and she gradually forgot how they danced and laughed in the forest together. Then one fine day, while playing hide-and-seek with her friends in the forest, she felt the touch of a furry paw on her shoulder – the bear had finally came.
This is a heart-warming and super sweet story about the friendship between the little girl and the young bear, about hopes and strong emotions. This is something that we can teach young children to recognise the different emotions at work when the friends were first happy together, full of bliss and fun, then when they lost each other, how the little girl longs for the bear, how she went to the forest daily and waited for it. More complex emotions besides happiness and sadness such as disappointment and finally losing hope and disillusionment. Then when she finally met the bear again, how the past memories that were almost forgotten were awoken.
The beautiful watercolour illustrations are pleasing and gave an enchanted feeling to the forest setting. It is not common to find such beautifully written pose in children’s books, that is also easy to understand for young children. I would say this is a must read and hope the library would continue stocking this storybook.