Many years before Michael Rosen sent a family on a bear hunt, three other children set forth into the British countryside under a low winter sun.
They observe all kinds of natural sights, from cows to hungry birds, before discovering a brown knitted bear stuck up a tree.
As the snow begins to fall, they retrieve the tatty teddy (‘a bit damp, a bit leafy, in need of repair‘) and take him home to dress in various oddments.
Rather than blanket the book cover to cover in snow there’s a beautiful feeling of the English countryside as it is in winter. Erik Blegvad chooses to begin the story against a cold, stark backdrop where there is beauty if you look for it.
When the snow does arrive half way through there is a sense of delayed gratification that makes it all the more pleasurable.
This might be a period piece, where fur coats, parkas and polo neck sweaters are part of the winter dress code, but there’s a timeless and a soothing quality to both the look of Erik Blegvad’s watercolours and the sound of Ruth Craft’s rhymes.