The Gift, by Penny Matthews & Martin McKenna

One by one the toys were sold.
Nobody wanted Brown Bear.

The Gift

It is nearly Christmas and a plain brown bear sits in the toy shop waiting to be bought. The other toys do clever things – singing carols or banging drums – but all Bear has is a big red bow. As the other toys are sold he finds himself sitting next to a big green crocodile, who doesn’t do anything special OR have a bow. As Crocodile frets about finding a home, Brown Bear does something very special – giving his bow to Crocodile. But, when Crocodile is sold, Bear wonders if he’ll ever be chosen.

The Gift is a gorgeous Christmas picture book story about giving and friendship. Brown Bear’s generous gesture helps his frined find a home and, eventually, he too finds a home, and even a new bow.

The text is lovely and the illustrations also simply beautiful. Rendered digitally, yet with a traditional toy shop feel, the toys have loads of character but are toy-like. not overly animated even when communicating. the people are represented chiefly by hands reaching and passing until the final lovely illustration of Brown Bear’s new young owner asleep, cuddling him.

The Gift would make a lovely Christmas present.

The Gift, by Penny Matthews & Martin McKenna
Omnibus Books, 2012

Available from good bookstores or online.