Review Blog

Jan 13 2011

Maudie and Bear by Jan Ormerod and Freya Blackwood

cover image

Little Hare, 2010. ISBN 9781921541407.
(Age 5-7) Highly recommended. In a wonderful collaboration Jan Ormerod, who is an outstanding illustrator in her own right, has joined with award winning illustrator Freya Blackwood, to produce a stunning picture book that could well become a classic of the future.
Maudie and Bear are best of friends. Bear cooks and cleans and is always there when Maudie needs him. The book is divided in very short illustrated chapters, each showing the personality of exuberant and demanding Maudie and patient, loving Bear. Each chapter is humorous and illustrates the themes of love and friendship. In chapter one the pair go for a bike ride after Maudie decides she needs some exercise. After taking an age to get her sunglasses, scarf, sunscreen, and bug spray, Maudie gets into the basket and Bear pedals away, with Maudie remarking that 'exercise is good for you.' Chapter 2 is a funny retelling of The three bears while Chapter 3, The snack, sees Bear labouring over food preparation while Maudie stands by idly and gives instructions.  Making up shows the nature of true friendship, even if Maudie is very offended when Bear laughs at her dancing.  The final chapter, Telling stories, is a heart-warming look at staying awake when a story is being told.
I adored the character of the stalwart Bear, who is like the most patient of parents or carers. He is warm and untiring in his love for Maudie. Maudie on the other hand, is a typical demanding child, self-centred and troublesome but loving as well.
The illustrations are just fabulous. The imaginative details that Blackwood has conjured up are amazing. I loved the scarf that was a fox, the little frilled bloomers that peeped out from under Maudie's dress, and the drawings of little toys and household utensils.
It is an unusual picture book in that it contains five chapters, each with a different story. Beginning readers who are almost ready to move onto chapter books will enjoy the easy vocabulary and beautiful layout of the story and will feel comfortable with the picture book structure.
This book is a keeper and deserves a place on all library shelves.
Pat Pledger

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