Where Bear? by Sophy Henn
Puffin, 2014. ISBN: 9780723288916
This delightful picture book from a new talent in the industry was a great hit when Small and I read it together on Saturday night. A little boy and a little bear lived together and all was wonderful until they both started to grow and as one might expect the bear was suddenly MUCH bigger than the boy. So much bigger in fact that living in a house no longer seemed the best option for him.
So they begin their quest to find Bear a suitable and happy home. Young readers will love the delightful refrain as the pair explore each possibility - the zoo, the jungle, the pet shop and more - in turn and each is rejected because Bear finds them unsuitable. But 'Where Bear?' asks the boy . . . until finally they find the very perfect place for a very large Bear to settle down and raise a family of his own.
Like so many enduring friendships, just because the boy and the bear now live in separate places does not mean they no longer enjoy their same close relationship. Chatty phone calls and even shared 'holiday' expeditions ensure their closeness remains.
This is a gorgeous book with simple resonant themes - the skilful illustrations are typical of Sophy's artistic style after exploring her website. Children will enjoy the tenderness between the two and the opportunity to share their own stories of friendships - including those where friends may have moved away.
Sophy has also been appointed the official illustrator for World Book Day 2015.
Sophy has a new picture book being released next year and I look forward to seeing that one - as I'm sure does Small.