Herman's Letter by Tom Percival

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Bloomsbury, 2013. ISBN: 9781408836750.
Herman Bear and Henry Racoon had always been the best of friends, doing everything together. When Henry moved away and left Herman behind, problems arose. Herman felt lost, lonely and abandoned: something no amount of letters from Henry could fix. Instead of writing back to his friend, Herman became more and more jealous as Henry wrote about his new life which was made to sound better than was really the case. When Henry finally admitted just how much he still missed his friend, Herman was galvanised into action. With the post office having just closed for winter, how would he get his reply through to his best friend?
This is a delightful book about friendship, jealousy, loneliness, resilience and problem solving as well as the dying art of letter writing and communication. The illustrations are bright and colourful cartoon style using a variety of different page layouts. Many spreads contain full page illustrations while others have either comic style boxes to illustrate a string of activities or, on other pages, the illustrations are divided into horizontal bands with two or three different sections to show a journey or the passing of time. Not only is this a delightful book to use as a read aloud, it contains some great messages about being honest with our friends and friendships being able to survive despite the physical distances between people.
Many books containing letters are not especially durable in a library collection as parts tend to quickly go missing or get torn. In this title, however, the letters are simply in a lift-the-flap format so would be better suited to regular borrowing by many children.
Jo Schenkel