Bear in Space
Walker Books, 2020
32pp., hbk., RRP $A25.99
Bear is different. While all his friends were noisy and busy and never seemed to stop, Bear preferred his own company and the quietness and solitude of his books – particularly his books about space. Because even though the other bears sometimes laughed at him and called him names, Bear was absorbing all he could learn about the mysterious place beyond the planet because he had plans…
This is a charming story for early readers that has so many layers. Firstly, it is a tribute to those children who are more introverted, who are happy and complete in their own space and who single-mindedly pursue their dreams, prompting discussions about how there are all sorts of people in the world who may have different values and dreams to us. But it also shows how those dreams can be enriched and enhanced when they are shared with like-minded souls and friends, changing perceptions of relationships and how the world works. It also has lots of facts about space embedded into it so as well as sharing Bear’s adventures, the reader also learns a little on the journey.
This is one of those perfect pictures books where the text and illustrations are seamless and one would be so much less if the other weren’t there. Even though both themes of being a loner and having dreams of space travel have been visited in children’s stories before, this is a stand-out because of the story’s layers and that integration of words and pictures that entertain and educate at the same time. A marriage of imagination and information.