Albert’s Christmas written by Alison Jezard and illustrated by Margaret Gordon, Puffin Books, 1978, 1986. First published by Victor Gollancz in 1970.
Albert the Bear’s first appearance was in 1968 and the original Gollancz editions seem now to be quite collectible (I spotted a first
edition offered for fifty pounds). Sadly, the Albert books now appear to be out of print. This friendly teddy bear lives in a cosy basement flat in Spoonbasher’s Row in the East End of London.
Albert’s Christmas adventures begin when he starts work as a seasonal postman to earn some extra money. The following extract is taken from chapter three, when Albert goes to do his Christmas shopping in a big department store:
‘Children were everywhere and their voices were full of excitement as they chose the things they wanted most.
Suddenly a little boy near to Albert pointed to him and said, “Please , Mummy, could I have that for Christmas? It’s the most beautiful Teddy Bear I have ever seen.” Albert turned around. ‘”I beg your pardon, ” he said. The little boy’s mouth fell open and he turned bright pink. “Oh, excuse me,” he said, “I thought – I mean -“
Albert raised his cap politely and said, “My name’s Albert and I’m afraid I’m not for sale.”‘
Fortunately Albert is not a teddy bear to take offence and he soon makes friends with the boy (Ian) and his mother. He is even invited to spend Christmas Day with the family. What with that, mistletoe gathering and playing the part of Father Christmas at a children’s party, Albert Bear has his best Christmas ever.
Albert should be the last bear to make an appearance….but you never can tell with bears…