Bearnard’s Book is a bit obvious to the adult reader what Bearnard’s book is going to be about, but Deborah Underwood draws the reader into the story showing the things it might be about. When Bearnard researches books about bears he learns they float, have porridge stolen and are messy. But Bearnard is not able to float (he is a bit afraid to actually) and he does love his porridge, so he just could not deal with it stolen, and well Bearnard is very much not a messy bear. With the help of his friend, Gertie (a duck), he learns that his book could be very special indeed. After all, Bearnard is a very brave bear.
Nusa Saburi has added to the charm of this story with some fun and funky images. Gertie has some family photographs on her wall of Ma and Pa (who look a lot like cats) and there some interesting colors. They are muted but are the perfect amount to move the story along. (However, I could have done without the hairy foot that is walking next to Bearnard at one point).
The great thing about the format is that it works in the traditional hardcover size, will work in the paper format and I can see it even in a larger board book. I would like to see a series of Bearnard and Gertie books. They have the potential to give fun stories and be issue stories without being too preachy. Toddlers and the slightly older child will enjoy having it read to them, and eventually they will be able to read to themselves as the text is not too complicated for the slightly advanced beginning reader.
Bearnard will be out in February 2019