Weve been fans of Debi Gliori for quite some time in this house, from the Woodlands Friends series of boardbooks to the adventures of Mr Bear. Her charming stories and delightful illustrations are great for any young child.
This rhyming story starts,
The storys beginning
and the moons flying high
trailing fat clouds
across the night sky.
We see a little bear through the window in bed with his teddy bear who is still wide awake.
He sneaks out of bed and puts on his slippers before climbing down the stairs and out of the front door of his house that looks like an abandoned fridge. In the garden he meets up with lots of other animal friends that are wide awake too and they go off to the top of a hill to dance to the Polar Bolero.
Everyone has a great time but they soon start to feel sleepy and one by one they end up back in their beds.
The story end,
In the dark comes that someone
who goes HUG in the night
kisses me gently
and whispers, Goodnight.
As with all her books, this one is very detailed and there are lots of little funny things to spot that are going on in the background of the picture. The writing is bold and black with capital letters emphasising sounds as the book goes on. The colours are bright and lively and really bring the movement of the dancing to life.
This story is a delight to read at bedtime and were still not sure if the little bear actually goes off to meet up with his friends or if its all just a dreamlike sequence of events.
I love rhyming books that manage to tell a story and have a gentle lilt to them as they do so and this one fits the bill perfectly. I really like the way the book starts gently, rises to the excitement of the dance and then snuggles back down again as the little bear gets sleepy.
The illustrations are lovely in this book and Debi Gliori is a very accomplished artist. Her work seems to appeal to all young children and her imaginary worlds are shown well with lots of interesting things going on that children can point to and laugh about. I especially like the idea of this family of bears living in a fridge that also contains eggs, milk and vegetables but the top two shelves are actually their living quarters. It is original and amusing for children to imagine that the fridge in their house might just contain a family of bears too.
The loveliest part of the book though is when the little bear cuddles down into his bed again, snuggling into his own teddy bear and watching him get a big hug from his mum. This always prompts my son to ask for a cuddle from me at bedtime and its a nice way to end this special time we share at the end of a day.
***Other Debi Gliori Books***
No Matter What
When I'm Big
Give Him My Heart
Mr Bear's New Baby
Mr Bear's Picnic
Mr Bear To The Rescue
Mr Bear's Holiday
Mr Bear Babysits
***Price & Availabilty***
We have the paperback version of this book but it only seems to be available from Amazon marketplace and Ebay these days. It is still available from WH Smith in hardback form though for the publishing price of £10.99.
ISBN No. 0439013720
Debi Gliori is an incredibly talented illustrator whose work has the startling ability to transform complex ideas into simple thoughts that are soothing in the extreme. In Polar Bolero she takes that talent, and turns her attention to bedtime, with a little polar bear struggling to snuggle down to sleep. His imagination runs wild and he heads off for adventure in the night until, exhausted, he arrives back in his bedroom just in time to be kissed goodnight by his mother.