SIMPLE SHAPE'S 14-DAY HOLIDAY GUIDE / day 03

On the third day of our Holiday Guide I thought we'd close our eyes and ears to the overload of Christmas temporarily and instead I'll take you on a personal, seasonal, nostalgic meander. Enter: The Winter Bear.

DAY THREE: The Winter Bear
By Ruth Craft, Illustrated by Erik Blegvad

Of course the Christmas holidays are tangled in traditions, religious, national, constructed, commercial. But threaded through these unavoidable (and obviously not-all-bad) ones are so many others too. The small ones, the seemingly insignificant ones, the family ones...

The Winter Bear, By Ruth Craft, Illustrated by Erik Blegvad

The Winter Bear, By Ruth Craft, Illustrated by Erik Blegvad

And so with that, I'm launching into my favourite childhood book. The Winter Bear. Do you know it? First published in October 1976, (but inexplicably out of print now) I searched for this copy because the memory, not so much a Christmas tradition, but definitely a seasonal memory, of being read this story is such a strong and glorious one!

The language is lovely, the illustrations are beautiful and the story, despite telling of a bitterly cold winter's day, is full of warmth, gentleness and kindness. It's the sort of story that warms you through to your middle. 

Waiting for rescue; "...A bit damp, a bit leafy / In need of repair / But still, an excellent bear"

Waiting for rescue; "...A bit damp, a bit leafy / In need of repair / But still, an excellent bear"

Picture perfect; enchantingly simple pastoral landscape illustrations by Erik Blegvad

Picture perfect; enchantingly simple pastoral landscape illustrations by Erik Blegvad

Natural beauty; gathering a hedgerow bouquet (so very on-trend!)

Natural beauty; gathering a hedgerow bouquet (so very on-trend!)

Bear! at the moment of the find, the story changes pace, it's a race to take care of the bear...

Bear! at the moment of the find, the story changes pace, it's a race to take care of the bear...

"Four ran home (That's three - and the bear)..."

"Four ran home (That's three - and the bear)..."

I can't help reading it with some nostalgia (...probably somewhat falsely placed, after all that's the thing about nostalgia...!) but I'm pretty sure which one of the three children I was, and which my sister's were (are?!) too.