The SEA SAW by Tom Percival

The SEA SAW is a beautifully illustrated, incredibly emotive story about the loss of a well loved teddy bear on a day out to the beach. Sofia’s bear is particularly special as it belonged to her mother, when we first read the book we couldn’t stop turning the pages in the hope that it would find its way back to Sofia. But The SEA SAW and is determined to help the bear get back home.

The Story: Sofia’s bear has been passed down from her grandfather to her mother and now Sofia. One day the bear goes with Sofia and her father to the beach but when a storm arrives they leave in a hurry. The bear gets left behind so The Sea tries to help the bear get home. It’s a long journey which takes the bear to many beaches, harbours and on to a stream where he is finally found…

Sofia is devastated when she can’t find bear after an otherwise perfect day out. None of the bears that Sofia’s father gives her as replacements are right as none of them belonged to her mother. She only has bear’s small scarf to remember him by so she cuts a piece off to keep in her locket.

The sea is personified in The SEA SAW and it is determined to reunite the bear with Sofia. After an extremely long journey bear is found and we love the way that the story ends.

The simple text is complemented by Tom Percival’s gorgeous illustrations which portray various elements of Sofia’s old fashioned childhood – a long journey using public transport, a father who always wears a shirt and tie and the old fashioned telephone. They evoke so many emotions – joy at the beach, grief and sadness at the loss of bear and the loneliness that Sofia feels without him. A small yellow bear hanging off a ship’s anchor, clinging to a log and riding on a seal’s back really tugged at our heart strings and we turned the pages as quickly as we could in the hope that bear and Sofia would be reunited.

The Sea SAW bear - Story Snug

The SEA SAW is a fabulous book to initiate discussions about favourite toys and possessions. It also takes a sensitive look at loss and grief and can help children talk about how they feel when they are sad. We shared Sofia’s sadness when she can’t find bear and wondered about the whereabouts of her mother who is not pictured in the book, the implication being that Sofia has lost her too. 

This beautifully emotive story has a happy ending for Sofia and for bear although not in a way that we expected. It will resonate with many readers, both big and small, who have felt the overwhelming sadness and despair of losing something special whilst also giving a message of hope – ‘nothing is ever truly lost if you keep it in your heart.’

Age Range: 3+

Author / Illustrator: Tom Percival

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