The woodland animals are having a party. But, oh no, the bear has fallen asleep in the hollow tree right where they were planning to have their party! Not to worry, they can still have a party, though, if they do it quietly. All seems to go as planned until… Until the hare decides to add one last touch – he brings a big, red balloon and starts to blow… It’s easy to guess what happens next, a very loud Pop! wakes the scary, hairy bear up. But what do you know, it turns out that even though bears are very hairy, they are not one bit scary! The bear joins their party and even brings a pot of honey.
This is a wonderful picture book by Steve Smallman, illustrated by Caroline Pedler. It’s written in rhyme, though, you will not find any repetitions here so it will be a lot more difficult to memorise (if you are like me, that is, someone who walks through town with the baby while reciting one of the stories and imitating all the character voices, ignoring the looks of passers-by).
I have to be honest, I picked the book up because of its beautiful illustrations. I am a sucker for pretty illustrations and this one hooked me with its cover. It is a cover with a “hole”, the bear is sleeping in the hollow tree and through the “hole” a bunny is peeping in from the first page. And I knew I had to get the book when I opened it and saw that it was written in rhyme.
The story in itself is nice. I love picture books that DO have a story, and, oh, how many there are with some beautiful artwork with nothing to show for the content. Some have an excuse, the so-called touchy-feely kind, but even then, is it so hard to actually have a story to go with all the textures? (Ellie loves Puppy’s World by Hannah Wood but the book is empty, we just love to touch things 😀 )
Ok, returning back to the review of this book. Another thing me and Ellie like is the part where the bunny blows and blows and blows… I gently blow on Ellie’s face and she loooves it. And then there is the anticipation of the “surprise” Pop! on the next page.
And I love how the illustrator showed the bear to be so very big compared with the other animals by turning the pages vertically. A very clever touch.
One more thing I would like to mention is the font of the text. It’s very cute and some of the words are bigger in size so it helps to read the book putting the emphasis in the “right” places, which comes kind of naturally thanks to the word size variation.
All in all, a wonderful book about forest animals with a nice story and beautiful illustrations. Another must-have for any child’s bookshelf!