One of the best things that has come out of having a blog is the wonderful connections that I have made to people that are in far-flung places, people I may never have met otherwise. Here is a true and lovely story of how I met the author of Wise Bear William, Arthur Wooten.
I was working on a post for book blog tour for WOW (Women on Writing) about Melissa Goodwin– she wrote the lovely book The Christmas Village – and Melissa was so nice! She wrote thank you notes (you know your mother always told you to and she was right) and we started an email conversation that led to us realizing that we were both bookish girls from the same small town although did not know each other – different ages. Small world, yes? Through Melissa I met Arthur Wooten (also from same hometown – they knew each other when) and he offered to send me a copy of the book to review. As we started corresponding, I realized that I went to elementary school with his brother such a long time ago!
Anyway, Arthur very kindly (he is also very polite) sent me a copy of his new book, Wise Bear William. It turns out that he wrote this when he was in his twenties and put it aside while he did other things – like writing books: Fruit Cocktail, On Picking Fruit and Birthday Pie. Over the years he thought of different ways to present this story and I am so glad it is as a picture book. The lovely message is lightly told but deeply felt. Without preaching the story shows that the important things in life are acceptance, friendship, loyalty and love.
The story begins with an exclamation from bouncy Rag Doll Rose (these are talking toys) and the energy continues as you are drawn into the lives of these toys in a charming attic (if we had an attic I would like to be like this one). From Bean Bag Bunny to Wise Bear William, the characters are beautifully drawn and captivating. The illustrations are rich in detail, warm and complement the story perfectly. Wise Bear William is encouraging, kind and brings out the best in the other toys (who are a bit worse for the wear) as they prepare for a visit from the children who are visiting in the house below. As a tradition, every year the children come up to the attic to choose a toy from those in the attic to have as their own until they are too old to play with it, then the toys come back to the attic. When you read a children’s book you think you know what will happen (and usually I do) but the surprising ending is a delight. Go read this book now (you can find it on Amazon by clicking the book below). A lovely story for a lovely time of year. Enjoy the holidays!
Wise Bear William is destined to become a classic.