Thursday, 17 October 2013

Old Bear by Jane Hissey (Scribblers Books)

Old Bear

Written and Illustrated by

Jane Hissey

Published by Scribblers Books

I have no idea how it could've happened, but "Old Bear" is one of those books that my book-blogging friends whisper in abject reverence about - but we've never got round to reading and reviewing. Now, thanks to the kind folks at Scribblers - and a timely re-release in Paperback, we can finally find out what all the fuss is about.

It's a fuss worth making. We've previously loved Jane Hissey's utterly sublime "Ruby, Blue and Blanket" and Jane was also kind enough to answer some of our trickiest questions in an interview too.

So catching up with her back catalogue has been a genuine pleasure!

"Old Bear" the titular and rather dapper subject of this book is a big raggedy, baggy and fragile teddy who is a bit too frail to be played with. Poor Old Bear is consigned to the loft, but the other toys begin to miss him - and when the children are slightly older and slightly less rough and tumble, they decide to mount a rescue mission to bring Old Bear back into the nursery, to be played with once again.

A grand mission begins with Duck, Little Bear, Rabbit and friends coming up with various plans on how to rescue the old gent from his attic hideaway. Being a toy isn't easy, and when you're very small and the Attic is a very long way away, a rescue mission seems all but impossible.

Thankfully toys are also clever and resourceful, so it's not long before a successful plan is hatched. Will the toys be able to find Old Bear nestling amongst the junk and cobwebs?

Knowing a little bit about how Jane likes to work, I find her stories and art absolutely enthralling as does Charlotte. Her illustrations practically leap off the page, the stories are warming, enduring and above all great fun, and the cast of characters ensures that each and every child will have a particular favourite (I love Old Bear because he reminds me of my mum's teddy - which I was VERY careful with while playing with him as a kid. Charlotte adores Rabbit!)

So it's brilliant to have finally caught up with Jane's masterwork! More reviews of Jane's books coming soon!

Charlotte's best bit: Little Bear climbing a rubber plant! Eek!

Daddy's Favourite bit: Timeless, peerless, beautiful books. A very happy discovery!

(Kindly sent to us for review by Scribblers Books)