Sofia’s tatty old teddy bear was ‘less like a toy and more like a friend’. Passed down from her grandmother to her mother, then onto Sofia on the day of her birth, they went everywhere together. But one day, on a trip to the seaside with her father, a storm breaks out and in the rush to leave the beach the bear is left behind. Sofia and her father try their best to track the toy down, but to no avail. Sofia is naturally very upset about the loss of her beloved toy. Other toys just aren’t the same. She carries around a small fragment of the bear’s scarf in her locket and tries to carry on life without him.
Meanwhile back at the beach, the Sea saw the lost bear and decides to try to take take him home. It sweeps the bear along on a long journey through oceans, lakes and rivers which takes many years. One sunny afternoon, a young girl spots the bedraggled bear on a river bank and takes the bear to see her grandmother….who hugs him tightly ‘for the first time in many, MANY years’. The twist in the tale is that the grandmother is in fact Sofia and her lost friend has returned at last. In the words of the story, ‘nothing is ever truly lost if you keep it in your heart’.
A lovely story which will make anyone who has ever lost a cherished toy shed a tear or two. Tom Percival’s illustrations, containing sweeping land and seascapes made from a collage of artwork from The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, are a feast for the eyes.