For me it was my favourite troll, and we parted ways after I accidentally dropped him in my primary school toilet. I rushed off to find a teacher (I was a squeamish child and didn’t fancy launching a lone rescue attempt) but returned to discover that someone had been in the toilet. AND FLUSHED THE TOILET. Troll was gone. Forever. And Oh God did I cry. Though I suspect the teacher was secretly pleased she didn’t have to extract a toilety troll.
For Sofia, the heroine of Tom Percival’s utterly wonderful The Sea Saw, it’s a tatty old bear which once belonged to her grandfather and mother and ‘was less like a toy and more like a friend’. So Sophia is understandably heartbroken when the bear tumbles out of her bag at the beach and is left there alone. She and her father search high and low but the bear is nowhere to be found; everyone says they haven’t seen him.
But the Sea, saw. And here the book switches from Sofia’s point of view to that of the Sea, as it tries its best to return the lost bear to where he belongs, helped by whales, seals, and boats, through many seasons and angry storms. It might take a long, long time, but the Sea never gives up.
I’ve read The Sea Saw several times now and literally every time I get goosebumps. The illustrations are atmospheric and timeless, and I found myself returning to and lingering on certain pages again and again, like the underwater scene. It’s a stunning book which deserves to be an instant classic.