I had hoped to post this book for Valentine’s Day yesterday; but it is never too late to talk about love, friendship and wonderfully sweet books. And that is exactly what this book is: a charming story about three best friends, a lost letter, a big mix-up, and a realization about friendship and the impact of words. Settle in with The Love Letter by Anika Aldamuy Denise, illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins, 2019.
The story begins with a moody Hedgehog discovering a letter. In fact, it was a love letter, and Hedgehog knew it was meant for him. And it made him feel different than usual. When he met up with his two friends, he was happy, cheerful, enthusiastic. His behavior surprised them so much, his friend Bunny gave him a big bunny squeeze goodbye.
And then Bunny finds the letter and knows it was meant for her. The letter has a similar effect on her, making her unusually helpful with her family and then to their friend Squirrel.
And then Squirrel finds the letter… and well, you can see where this is going.
It all finally comes to a head when the three bashfully meet up again, each hoping to address the sender of “their” letter. A fight breaks out as fights sometimes do in friendship, and the real owner of the letter is not only revealed, but ends up giving them a whole new perspective on love, encouragement and friendship.
I was honestly not surprised to adore this book. I was thrilled that my expectations were met. The arc of the story is wonderfully paced. The characters are lovingly quirky, and the end was such a delightful, yet fulfilling surprise. And Cummins’ art once again is just so wonderful. I continue to look back through the pages, again and again, wondering why it works just so incredibly well. She truly is a marvel with the illustrations. The characters are simple, yet expressive. The scenes are spare, yet cozy. And the impact is always just right. A wonderful book from start to finish that just makes you want to find a friend and give them a big hug.
I also particularly loved the letter. Short, poetic, almost Valentiney in tone, and just lacking in description that it fit each character, and yet makes complete sense when you realize its true match.
I highly recommend this book for your sweet midwinter readings. Perhaps it will encourage you to pick up the phone to say hello to a special friend or spark a letter-writing session of your own. Happy reading (and maybe writing)!