For my final post of 2021 and as my gift to you, dear readers, I’m featuring a classic new picture book that I think is the Perfect Picture Book for this festive season. I hope you agree! Happy Holidays!
Title: The Gift Shop Bear
Written & Illustrated By: Phyllis Harris
Publisher/Date: WorthyKids (Hatchette Book Group)/2021
Suitable for Ages: 4-8
Themes/Topics: Christmas, teddy bear, home, friendship
Nestled on the edge of town sat a little gift shop.
Brief Synopsis: Every Christmas season, Bear leaves his spot in the attic to decorate a gift shop and play with his best friend, Annie. But when the shop closes for good, Bear’s future seems uncertain.
Links to Resources:
- Plan a Teddy Bear Picnic with your favorite stuffed friend;
- Learn about a type of bear that loves wintry weather: polar bears;
- Watch the adorable book trailer.
Why I Like this Book:
Bear waits all year for Christmas, something that I think every kid, and adult, will understand. But it’s not just the sights, sounds, and smells of the season that appeal to Bear. Rather, for Bear, Christmas is the time of year when he decorates the gift shop where he lives, and, more importantly, spends together-time with his best friend, Annie. I love all of the activities that the pair undertake, and I can imagine kids mimicking them later with their own stuffed friends.
But like holiday celebrations, small gift shops don’t last forever. When Bear overhears that the shop is closing, he worries about where he’ll end up and whether he’ll ever see his friend Annie again. As this is a picture book, you know Bear will find a place to belong, but I won’t spoil the ending by telling you how or where he finds his “forever home”.
In this time when we’re all craving cozy reprieves from the craziness of this world, I think the nostalgic feel of this picture book will appeal to kids and their adults. Harris’ softly-hued illustrations complete this lovely package. The spreads featuring snowflakes especially helped me to get in the holiday spirit.
A Note about Craft:
The Gift Shop Bear is told from the point of view of Bear, a stuffed animal. This helps bring immediacy to Bear’s predicament and enables kids to empathize with him more easily. Although Bear never speaks, Harris shows readers what he sees, smells, hears, and thinks, bringing the reader along into the shop and other scenes.
This Perfect Picture Book entry is being added to Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Book list. Check out the other great picture books featured there!