The two play hide and seek, they dance, they go slippery sliding on a sled, they hold hands - and all the while, Megumi's heart zings in her chest. She doesn't want the day to end.
Some days later, Megumi goes back to the forest to find bear but he's not there. She waits and waits but he doesn't come.
Every day she returns and waits, but she always leaves alone.
The long winter passes. Megumi celebrates a birthday and her blow-out-the-candles wish is for bear to return. But he doesn't. Megumi's heart is heavy. Spring is peeking over the hills - will the bear ever return?
This is a divinely sweet story about friendship and the power of hope. Gold's text is warmly and beautifully written and Craig Phillip's illustrations take the book's heartfelt message to even higher planes with his utterly charming watercoloury renderings.
I really hope to see this pairing again. That is - the author/illustrator AND Megumi and her bear.
Title: Megumi and the Bear
Author: Irma Gold
Illustrator: Craig Phillips
Publisher: Walker Books, $27.95 RRP
Publication Date: 1 June 2013
Format: Hard cover
For ages: 3 - 7
Type: Picture Book