“I’ve brought you the moon, Little Bear,” said Big Bear.
The Walker Christmas card which just arrived through the letterbox features one of Barbara Firth’s illustrations from Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear?
Firth is described on the rear of the card as a “much-missed friend of Walker Books” having died earlier this year.
Her Guardian obituary appeared as I was in the throes of closing the old ACHOCKAblog, and starting up this new ACHUKAblog, and the Christmas card’s arrival has alerted me to the fact that a link to Firth’s obituary was never posted here. So I am rectifying that now.
Barbara Firth [1928-2013], who has died aged 84, achieved success relatively late in life with her rich, warm and evocative illustrations for books such as Martin Waddell’s Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear? Her realisation of Waddell’s touching story of Big Bear helping Little Bear overcome his fear of the dark by bringing him bigger and bigger lanterns, before taking him outside to show him how the moon – the biggest lantern of them all – is always there, touched a chord with parents and children. Firth created an engaging, rumpled and shambling Big Bear and an enchantingly bright-eyed and eager Little Bear. Their cave is a haven of cosiness and Firth’s illustrations are full of depth and surprise, as well as charm… …