Monday, June 6, 2011


by Kazumi Yumoto & illustrated by Komako Sakai
Gecko Press

For ages 4 to infinity
48 pages - 
Hardback NZ$29.99

One morning, Bear was crying.
His best friend, a little bird, was dead.

When the little bird dies, Bear is inconsolable. Full of grief, he locks himself in his house and ventures out again only when the smell of spring grass blows in through his window.

He meets a wildcat and finally feels understood. As the cat plays his violin, Bear remembers all the fun he had with the little bird. Now he can say goodbye to his friend, because he knows he’ll always have his memories.

The Bear and the Wildcat is a touching picture book about loneliness, grief and loss, ending with a positive new beginning. It brought a tear to my eye I can tell you. Absolutely beautiful storytelling.
It shows a way through paralyzing grief and simultaneously tells the story of a budding friendship.

About the author:
Kazumi Yumoto was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1959. She studied music composition at Tokyo College and during this time wrote opera libretti and plays for radio and television. Her books, mostly novels for older children, have won numerous international awards.

About the illustrator:

After graduating from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, Komako Sakai worked at a kimono textile design company. She is one of the most popular children’s author/illustrators in Japan.

  • An astute and sensitive ‘guide to grieving’ in picture book form
  • A valuable resource for counsellors, schools, hospices and grief centres
  • Previously published in Japan, Spain, France and Germany, this is the first time it’s been available in English
  • “If grieving people are allowed to grieve, then they will find their way back to the joy of life - that’s the message of this delicate Japanese book.” (Hella Kemper, Time, Germany)
 Gecko Press specialises in English versions of "curiously good books from around the world". Quite how publisher Julia Marshall continues to find such utter gems as this one is beyond me. And Gecko Press' attention to design and detail is without peer.They really care about every title they publish and it shows. Even the way they post out their review titles draws my admiration.

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