Frida and Bear by Anthony Browne and Hanne Abartholin

cover image

Walker Books, 2015. ISBN 9781406353990
(Age: 3+) Highly recommended. Frida and Bear both love to draw, but sometimes they have trouble thinking of a topic. So Frida draws a shape for Bear who adds to it and turns it into puppy. Bear then draws a shape and Frida uses her creativity to turn it into a big fish. Together the two have great fun using their imaginations to play the Shape Game which Anthony Browne introduced when he was the UK Children's Laureate.
This is a delightful book that celebrates art and the power of the imagination. Browne's prose is short and succinct and the print would be suitable for the beginning reader. The introduction of Browne's signature gorilla one page will enthral the reader who is a fan of Browne's Willy books.
Any child (or adult) will have great fun looking at a shape and turning it into something else. Using pieces of scrap paper or objects found in the garden or at the sea as the initial shapes will also motivate the creative mind to come up with some fabulous pictures as Hanne Abartholin shows in her whimsical and memorable illustrations. Children would really enjoy making their own shapes or finding some in the world around and then sharing with a partner to come up with some wonderful ideas.
The Shape Game is a really interesting, creative and fun way of using the imagination and this book that illustrates how it works would be invaluable to have in a library, classroom or home.
Pat Pledger