Boogie bear by David Walliams

cover image

Ill. by Tony Ross. HarperCollins, 2018. ISBN 9780008172770
(Age: 5+) Highly recommended. Themes: Difference, Polar bears, Brown bears, Adventure. When the polar bear falls asleep after eating her magnificent lunch, she wakes to find that the ice on which she has slept has broken away and been swept far from where it started. She is most concerned, and the words, 'oh dear' begin to appear on the pages as her situation goes from bad to worse. The ice melts as she drifts towards a warmer climate, until finally it melts altogether, dumping her into the sea. Spying an island nearby she bear paddles towards it only to be confronted by many pairs of eyes. Her situation becomes more dire when she finds that the eyes belong to a pack of brown bears, who are not altogether happy with this interloper. She climbs a tree, only to be shaken and she falls into a muddy puddle. Here things happen which make her see things are about to get much better.
The tale of how one polar bear is accepted by the pack of brown bears underlines the idea of cooperation and acceptance, of being different but the same. The tale will make readers laugh out loud and they cannot help but understand the theme of diversity. The little additions of bear facts will further enhance the fun in the book.
Tony Ross' laugh out loud illustrations will intrigue and delight the readers, as he shows the bear in all her glory, merrily floating out to sea, falling haphazardly into the water, attempting to find land and then dealing with an angry mob of brown bears. Each illustration of the bear adds to the humour as Ross with a few seemingly simple lines can add touches of emotion to the faces of the animals. Children will be in no doubt about the polar bear's anxious moments and her finding resolution at the end, and may even see the link to climate change and the changing environments that animals now have to deal with.
Walliams' books have sold over 20 million copies around the world, and his collaboration with Ross has seen some great picture books and novels being published.
Fran Knight