A Boy, a Bear, a Balloon by Brittany Rubiano

Published: 3rd July 2018Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 Disney Press
Illustrator: Mike Wall
Pages: 40
Format: Hardcover Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

Retelling touching scenes from the upcoming Walt Disney Studios’ upcoming Christopher Robin film, this charming picture book finds Christopher reuniting with Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore, and the rest of his old friends when he returns to the Hundred Acre Wood for the first time since childhood. As he returns to the life he once new, Christopher sees the world through new eyes and discovers that even as everything around us seems to change, the most important things remain constant.

I have an intense love for Winnie the Pooh so of course I was eager to read this new picture book featuring my favourite bear. Rubiano does a good job mixing the old and the new, even putting in the dedication a quote from one of the best Winnie the Pooh films: Pooh’s Grand Adventure.

My heart did a small leap of joy as I recognised many of Milne’s quotes from the original books, reworked into this story which only brought the woods back to life and reminded me how much I adore these characters. The story also casually revisits some of the original Pooh adventures, seen now through the eyes of the older Christopher Robin which reminds us how much he has changed. He visits his old friends and they fail to see the young boy they knew in this man who has entered their woods.

Rubiano doesn’t quite catch the tone of Milne’s writing, it is very close, and you can see where it’s drawing from, but at the same time I don’t think it’s meant to mimic it exactly. This is her own story that is reflecting part of the upcoming film. With that in mind it is unfair to make it live up to the previous Winnie the Pooh books. Coming at these beloved characters from the mind of an adult like Christopher Robin, but still telling the story to children (or even those who left the woods a long time ago), it has a suitable tone and one that still manages to reignite that love and affection.

The illustrations are a beautiful mixture between Shepherds and the ever familiar Disney. I loved how Wall has brought his style to the characters while still keeping them familiar. The colours are beautiful and his designs are simplistic and elegant, showing just enough detail.

There is a lot of responsibility to writing and illustrating for Winnie the Pooh (in my view anyway), but this book does a beautiful job in presenting a story for those of us who are a little but more grown up and find ourselves wandering back to the Hundred Acre Woods.

Because of the popularity and endearing nature of Winnie the Pooh there is always going to be reminders about other adaptations and in those final pages. On that final page I found my mind immediately going to a quote from the masterpiece 1977 film The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh:

“Wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in their enchanted place on top of the forest, a little bear will always be waiting”.

*cue Amy sobbing*

You can purchase A Boy, A Bear, A Balloon via the following

Booktopia | Book Depository |

Amazon | Amazon Aust | Wordery

 Fishpond | QBD

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Peter Freeman
    Sep 02, 2018 @ 01:56:18

    Yes, but does the cover lie? Are there Pooh sticks?

    Like

    Reply

  2. Ally
    Aug 31, 2018 @ 20:22:25

    😆 *cue Amy sobbing*

    I’ve heard so much great feedback about this book!

    Like

    Reply

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