Friday, January 11, 2019

ReadItDaddy's Second Book of the Week - Week Ending 11th January 2019: "Polar Bear Island" by Lindsay Bonilla and Cinta Villalobos (Sterling Publishing)

Our Second Picture Book of the Week this week is a subtle but extremely cleverly written and illustrated picture book that couldn't be more timely if it tried...
When we first read through "Polar Bear Island" by Lindsay Bonilla and Cinta Villalobos, we couldn't help but refer to it as "Brexit: the Picture Book" - and of course you're more than welcome to interpret this fantastic story in your own way - but that's our way, and we're sticking to it.

Buzz your buzzer if any of this sounds familiar, OK?

You've got a rather large polar bear Mayor with a mop of white floppy hair.

You've got a rather engaging and utterly loveable visitor from overseas.

The aforementioned mayor doesn't like the visitor from overseas, insisting that they can stay for the night - then clear off!

The penguin, however, rather loves his new polar bear chums, and they love his superb non-slip flipper slippers - and encourage the mayor to let him stay.

Polar Bear Island, where penguin visitors from overseas are made less than welcome. Sound familiar?
Grudgingly the mayor accepts, which prompts the Penguin to write to his family, encouraging them to drop in for a visit too.

The Polar Bear Mayor is called Parker rather than Farage or Johnson, but we get the message. 
Naturally the mayor goes ballistic! He's not having it! Grrrrr!

Penguin's family decide to come on over for a visit. You can probably hear Parker exploding from where you're standing
Before long though, the other polar bears think their new friends are awesome, and bring lots of brilliant inventions and cultural items of their own to plain, boring Polar Bear Island, enriching the place with variety and diversity.

It takes an accident, and the penguins pitching in to help Parker with his injuries before the miserable old polar bear changes his mind about the visitors (we like to think this is a subtle allusion to what we'd face losing if we lost all the overseas workers who came to the UK to work in our NHS).

So there you go, there's our interpretation of a fantastic picture book that will (hopefully) teach kids that tolerance and diversity are to be celebrated, not shut down or shunned. It's all so beautifully done, and more than ever we need books like this in our schools, in our libraries and featured just about everywhere picture books feature.

Utterly brilliant stuff. Can we arrange for copies to be sent to the UK / US Governments by any chance?

Sum this book up in a sentence: A really nifty way of dealing with a truly tricky subject, and bang on trend for discussing the topic of migration in a way that kids will wholly understand, and adults should really take on board.

"Polar Bear Island" by Lindsay Bonilla and Cinta Villalobos is out now, published by Sterling Publishing (kindly supplied for review).