Lost and Found
After launching the Mr Bear Gift set this week, I received a lovely email enquiring about the age that the Mr Bear books are aimed at. Its a very valid question and something I've tried to pinpoint. Yet it's a tricky one which I've guesstimated at 3-7. It's tricky because I know a just-turned-ten year old wonder who slept with hers under her pillow for a few weeks, I have a 3-year old nephew who calls from Australia for me to read them to him. I know a mum of 3 girls from 4-11 who all love them in different ways. And then there's all the adults. The orders that have come through which aren't destined for children, but instead come with self addressed gift messages of self love and encouragement.
And there are the messages like this one, from a lovely 70 year old lady.
When I lived in London in my early 20s, most people had busy diaries, made plans months ahead for their weekends and I didn't really work that way. I liked to stick my head out of the window and see where the day might take me. But that often meant finding myself alone on a Saturday while everyone else, well, set about their plans!
One of these slightly quieter (*cough*/...lonely!) days left me wandering around central London and my lovely sister gave me a heads up about an exhibition of Oliver Jeffers artwork in The Illustration Cupboard. So I headed in that direction. The Illustration Cupboard was - to my joy - near Piccadilly which meant a stroll via St James's Park & some squirrel feeding on the way.
I popped in to the aptly-named, tiny, cupboard-like gallery, spread over two floors, filled with artwork from children's books and featuring, as promised, a series of Oliver Jeffers artwork for Lost and Found. Having felt quite lost, I immediately felt totally found as soon as I was inside this magical gallery. I felt connected to a world of people who still dreamt like a kid. I spent ages in there looking at original sketches and layouts. It was somewhere I returned to often until, sadly, it closed last year.
During the past few weeks of lockdown, I have really enjoyed tuning in for Oliver Jeffers's Live story time on Instagram. It has been so calming hearing him read the books he's written, and chat about the artwork process too...Hugely inspiring and motivating to watch. But above all, it's brought me 10 minutes of childish comfort.
Knowing how much comfort those "children's" stories and illustrations brought/bring me, at an age far beyond the intended range makes it tricky for me to put an age on the Mr Bear stories.
So, while I can't answer the question more succinctly, I'm so grateful to all of you who welcome Mr Bear into your hearts, whatever age you are.