Archie and the Bear by Zanni Louise

Published: 1st May 2017Goodreads badge
Little Hare, Hardie Grant Egmont
Illustrator: David Mackintosh
Pages: 40
Format: Paperback Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

No one listens to Archie when he says he is a bear so he leaves home and goes into the woods where he makes friends with a bear. A very small boy in a bear suit and a very large bear share the fun of pretending, adventuring in the woods, and a honey sandwich next to a warm fire on a cold day. Which is really the boy, and which is the bear? It doesn’t matter—you are who you say you are. 

I am discovering that books where big things are friends with small things are my jam and I love that so many picture books incorporate this. Louise tells the story of Archie, the bear who people keep mistaking for a boy. When Archie is sick of people calling him a boy, he goes into the woods and finds a real bear, a bear who thinks he’s a boy.

This is a wholesome story that is told beautifully. There is heart and friendship and Mackintosh’s illustrations add gravity and a touch of magic. I felt the story slow down as I looked at these beautiful illustrations and though nothing is said of time or place, it felt like it was in an older time, somewhere in some small eastern European village and while that sounds obscure, it’s where my mind went and I loved it.

Mackintosh’s illustrations offer fantastic scale in regards to Archie’s size in relation to the world and to the bear. He uses a mixture of watercolour and rough pencils and masters capturing scale and magnitude about the expansiveness of a forest as well as the confines of it. I couldn’t help but admire the skill he had in perfectly executing so many different styles and techniques and marrying them to Louise’s words.

The story explores the two new friends as they discover each other’s worlds and teach each other their skills. I wasn’t sure how this would end but Louise finds a sweet ending to a sweet story and one that makes you feel warm and fuzzy on the inside.

You can purchase Archie and the Bear via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository | Dymocks

Angus and Robinson | Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

Prue Theroux by Gillian Rubinstein

Published: 2001Goodreads badge
 Random House Australia
Illustrator: David Mackintosh
Pages: 32
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★  – 3 Star

When you don’t know what to do. When you haven’t got a clue, go and talk to Miss Theroux. Who, who, who …? Miss Prue … That’s who! 

Who’s the coolest school librarian around? Miss Prue Theroux, that’s who! But when Prue Theroux falls sick and is replaced by Mr Boycott, it’s a very different scene in the library.

This is a fun book with great rhymes and repetition that kids will enjoy. It was great to show off the myriad of wonderful things librarians do, and I’m presuming Prue is a teacher librarian because she is teaching these kids a lot more than is generally possibly as a librarian alone.

The story itself was ok, it was fun to see the great things Prue did. I can see the appeal to kids and it would be enjoyable to read aloud. The rhymes were clever and made sense in context. The story was a bit long but had a few adventures, a three part kind of story which is rare in a picture book. The books listed from Prue recommendations are real books too which was clever because kids can then look up those books now if they wanted.

You can tell Prue is a Cool Librarian because the illustrations make her look cool with her clothing and design on top of the things that she does. Mackintosh’s drawings are unique with a simple colour scheme and quirky character designs.

Overall, I enjoyed the story, it might have been a bit long because I wasn’t totally into it but I still found it clever and certainly a great display of how awesome librarians are.

You can purchase Prue Theroux The Cool Librarian via the following

QBD | Book Depository