Tuesday 14 February 2012

Occasional Book review 3

No Bears
Written by Meg McKinlay illustrated by Leila Rudge
Walker books 978192152994

What can Meg McKinlay be doing calling a picture book 'No Bears?' Of course picture books have bears! All those fairy tales with bears as the main subject... but wait, the cover shows a bear holding up books and the main character Ruby.

This is an invitation to open the book and find out just what is going on.

Ruby knows all about books how they use words and begin with 'once upon a time' She wants to write her own once upon a time and happily ever after book without ever casting a bear in the lead role.

'I'm in charge of this book so I know everything about it- including the most important thing, which is that there are NO BEARS in it.'

Thankfully Leila Rudge is drawing her own subtext to the book and includes a bear whenever she can- a behind the scenes bear, almost like a postscript on the main story line. But very much an integral part of the story.

Everything is unfolding according to story- book plan until we come to the cast of the monster- oh no! The story and characters begin to have a life of their own- a bit like Meg and Leila as they write and illustrate this story. A great picture book develops a soul of its own.

Oh no cried the princess, 'SOMEBODY SAVE ME' And so SOMEBODY did.

This book is a delight, as a shared read with a 'little' audience, there will be chuckles and comments and suggestions. All the hallmarks of a great picture book. Highly recommended.

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