A Letter for Bear by David Lucas is a heartwarming story. Bear is a letter carrier, but he never gets any mail. One day he has a little mishap and has to knock on all the animal's doors to get them the right letter. Then bear thinks maybe he needs to send the animals a letter inviting them to his party. It's a Christmas party, but the whole feel of story is not christmasy at all.
The art is beautifully done in geometric designs that harken to Gerald McDermott, and Drummer Hoff's Barbara Emberley. The artist said, "I drew the pictures in dip pen and Indian ink on watercolour paper, adding tone in grey watercolour. I scanned the images in as grayscale, then added the layers of translucent colours. There are only four pure colours in the book: bright blue, violet, pink and a softer burnt orange colour. It is printed in pure pantone inks, not in the CMYK process - rather like screenprinting - so the red, for example, is orange overlaid with pink. It's rather like an old coloured engraving." To find out more about the artist, you'll find his website here.
The story has repetition and a happy accident that makes all the difference. Friendship, the cold north winter, and discovery are the themes I see running through this tale.
I'll use this story in Storytime with preschoolers and I'd use it in school with grades K-2nd. It would be a fun tie-in to write letters to a pen-pal or relative that lives out of town.