Steyning Store and Post Office had a new member of staff behind the counter for the morning, thanks to a visit from Postman Bear and author Julia Donaldson.
Julia saved the post office from closure in the autumn, when she and her husband Malcom bought it, with the agreement friends Vanessa and Jed Bamford, from Steyning Holiday Cottages, would run it.
It was the perfect place for Julia to celebrate the 20th anniversary of The Tales from Acorn Woods series, lift-the-flap books, including Postman Bear, Rabbit’s Nap, Fox’s Socks and Hide-and-Seek Pig, written by Julia and illustrated by Axel Scheffler.
Macmillan Children’s Books sent Postman Bear to Steyning on Saturday, when he visited the post office with Julia to meet customers and help serve behind the counter.
Vanessa and Jed said much fun was had during Postman Bears’ visit.
“Aside from posing for photos for some excited young customers, Postman Bear and Julia both had a stint serving behind the Post Office counter.
“Before leaving to visit the rest of the High Street, Postman Bear posted some letters and waved us farewell.”
He also popped into Steyning Farmers’ Market and later joined Julia at The Steyning Bookshop for a book signing session.
Sara Bowers, bookshop owner, said: “We had a great day on Saturday. Postman Bear appeared at Steyning Store and Post Office to be photographed with Julia Donaldson and customers there in the lovely new shop, and then to have a jolly amble along the High Street, popping into shops and visiting the bustling farmers’ market before arriving at The Steyning Bookshop with Julia to meet all her fans at a book signing which celebrated the 20th anniversary of the popular Acorn Wood books and the publication in paperback of the beautiful The Go-Away Bird, illustrated by Catherine Rayner.
“Children and parents were thrilled to meet their favourite author and the bookshop staff as usual laid on jolly crafts and activities, with a delicious birthday cake for Postman Bear and a special post box to post their competition entries.
“Once again, enormous thanks to Julia and Malcolm Donaldson for so generously saving the town’s post office from closure.”
Tales from Acorn Wood remains the only pre-school series created by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.
A spokesman for Macmillan said: “After 20 years, Acorn Wood is loved more than ever before and now we have new characters and adventures to take to our hearts.
“Postman Bear will be making appearances in bookshops and at festivals across the country.”
The series has sold nearly 5million copies worldwide in 22 languages.
With themes of friendship, helping each other and having fun together, Tales from Acorn Wood has cemented its place as must-have books for the under-fives.
Macmillan is delighted to announce new titles in the series. Four lift-the-flap cased board books with new lead characters will be published in 2021 and 2022.