The everywhere bear by Julia Donaldson
Ill. by Rebecca Cobb. Macmillan, 2017. ISBN 9781447280736
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Bears, Loss, Adventure. When the everywhere Bear falls from a child's backpack on the way back to school after being taken home for the night, his adventures begin. Readers will love the Bear, and his class, Class One and their teacher, Mrs McAllister, who allows each child to take home Bear after school.
But readers will be dismayed when he falls into the street to be run over by a line marking machine, and then fall into a street drain. His yellow stripe standing out, he is then flushed out to sea. Readers will follow his adventure keenly, wanting to know whether he makes it home again, concerned that he might not make it. But of course he does. He takes a most circuitous route, floating in the sea, being picked up in a fishing net by a trawler, sold on the jetty to a woman fish and chip shop owner. Once she deems him inedible, he is tossed out of her window onto a garbage truck. Transported to the tip, all seems lost until a somewhat short sighted seagull picks him up thinking he is a fish. The gull drops him to the ground where he is rescued by a woman called Bethany on her way to work. And where does she work? At the library of course, where Class One is about to begin their day. All is resolved, a cycle has taken place which will intrigue younger readers, and Bear is back to where he started.
This absolutely charming tale is told in rhyming stanzas and I can imagine many children being able to recite sections of it soon after it is read.
Julia Donaldson also wrote the hugely popular Gruffalo and Rebecca Cobb has illustrated several of her recent books and in this one has created a soft edged pictorial style most suited to the story of the lost Bear. And the range of transport used in the endpapers adds another level of understanding to the story of the lost bear, asking readers to recognise which forms of transport Bear used.