When I was a little girl, my mom used to read me Gabrielle Vincent's Ernest and Celestine book series. Merry Christmas Ernest and Celestine, in particular, holds a special place in my heart. It was one of my very favourite books growing up, and we read it over and over again.
The Ernest and Celestine book series tells the story of Ernest, a bear who is a street musician, and his adopted daughter, Celestine, who is a tiny mouse. This unconventional little family struggles in life, but their love for each other paired with their bond of friendship is so strong that there's no obstacle they can't collectively overcome. In Merry Christmas Ernest and Celestine, Celestine convinces Ernest to keep his promise to her, and organize a Christmas party for all their friends even though they don't have any money. With a little bit of imagination and some dedicated hard work, they manage to throw a magnificent party nonetheless.
The watercolour illustrations in this novel are just beautiful. The soft lines and pastel colours evoke deep emotion, and the pictures are tender and nuanced.
If you are a fan of these books too, or if you are sadly unable to find them in your local bookstore, I highly recommend watching the exquisite movie rendition of the Ernest and Celestine series by Benjamin Renner. I just love the animation, the story, the backgrounds... They did an amazing job of transcribing Gabrielle Vincent's illustrations onto the big screen.