The Gift Shop Bear -- new Christmas book review


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

It is hard to believe December is already here. Last year, 2020, was a very tough year on the world. This year, 2021, had glimpses of normalcy but really wasn't much better. In fact for me personally it was even tougher than 2020. However, that is not what I want to focus on today. Today I get to share a sweet new Christmas picture book with you. It is The Gift Shop Bear by Phyllis Harris. It is recommended for ages 4 to 7.

From the Publisher:

Discover the power of friendship in this nostalgic Christmas tale of a young girl and her furry friend—perfect for fans of The Velveteen Rabbit, Corduroy, and The Polar Express.

All year long, Bear watches from his spot in the attic as the seasons change, waiting for the first snowflakes that signify Christmas is coming. You see, at Christmastime, Bear gets to join his special friend, Annie, in the festivities in her grandma's gift shop. But this year is different--the gift shop is closing and Bear's future seems uncertain. Will Bear see Annie and Nana again? The heartwarming conclusion will make this story a family favorite at Christmastime each year.

Author-illustrator Phyllis Harris brings a warmth and coziness to her art and storytelling that give the book the timeless feel of a Christmas classic.

From Me:

Did your grandmother have a special toy for you to play with when you visited her? Bear is the special toy for Annie. Bear only comes out at Christmas time. He is part of the Christmas display at Annie's grandmother's gift shop. Annie gets to play with him while she is at the shop during the holiday season. Annie does everything with Bear during the busy holiday shopping season. Bear and Annie both look forward to this season and seeing each other. But this is the last year that Nana's shop will be open. What will happen to Bear? 

Bear is not for sale. He is in a way Annie's but he is also Nana's and her shop's bear. This story reminds me so much of The Velveteen Rabbit. Bear is so loved by Annie. He is her special friend at the shop during the season. I imagine the shop being busy and her grandmother not having as much time for Annie, so Bear fills Annie's time. Bear gets put away for the rest of the year to keep him safe and clean looking for the display and perhaps because Nana has more time for Annie during the rest of the year. 

The story is sweet. It is truly a love story about a girl and a stuffed animal. It shares the holiday world. Busy shoppers, snow, carolers and more. The illustrations are beautiful and the reader can feel the love between Annie and Bear. 

The story has a wonderful ending as well. The entire book is just sweet. It is the kind of book I would have wanted to read when I was young or have read to me. I could totally see Hazel loving it when she was young as well. Worthy Kids provides activity sheets as well as discussion questions to go along with the book. (Scroll down to the bottom of the page.)

This is sure to become a family favorite for the holiday season. I hope you will check it out!