Newest Review: ... if he can go to the moon. Mummy Bear tells him that he can't because it's bath time and he doesn't have a rocket either! So Baby Bear find... more
Whatever Next! - Jill Murphy
Member Name: juicy_lucy
Whatever Next! - Jill Murphy
Advantages: Nice little story
Another of our well read favourites, and having first been published in 1983, it has been read to all 3 of my children and to many classes of children.
Great opening line "Can I go to the moon?" asked Baby Bear. We like this because it is the kind of question children can ask when employing bath or bed delaying tactics and are looking out of their bedroom window.
Mrs Bear soon puts a stop to these musings because she tells Baby Bear that he needs a bath first (typical mummy style) and that he would need a rocket.
The bath appears to be forgotten, and baby Bear finds a rocket under the stairs, which is a cardboard box, he finds a space helmet in the shape of a collander, and space boots, which are his wellingtons.
He packs all the things he needs for a trip to the moon- his teddy and some food, and takes off up the chimney...WHOOSH!! He really does fly up through the chimney and passes an owl who admires his rather smart rocket and joins Baby Bear on his journey.
they wave to people on an aeroplane, and after flying higher and higher and passing millions of stars, they land on the moon. How do they find the moon? After eating the food, they realise that there is nobody else there and that it is all a bit boring. Baby Bear decides that they should go back because his bath will be ready, so they fly down and down. Owl flies out of the rocket and then the rain starts, drippinmg through Baby Bear's helmet, and making him look thoroughly miserable, hunched up in his bax. Little miss wonders how the box doesn't get soggy and collapse, but that's not part of the story!
He eventually flies down through the chimney and lands on the floor with a BUMP! There is no soot on the carpet but Mrs Bear comments on the state of Baby Bear and states that he looks as though he has been up the chimney.
As he is being bathed, Baby Bear tells her that he has been up the chimney and that he visited the moon.
IOn true mummy fashion, she comments on him and his stories "whatever next?"
We know differently, because we saw him on the moon.
On each double spread, the writing is on the left hand side, leaving a full page to the left for the picture (this changes only once).
Where the text is, the background is white until the part of the story where Baby Bear leaves the house to go to the moon. Then the background becaomes black and the writing white, which gives a much better feeling of it being night time.
The illustrations are bright and cheerful and baby Bear looks jolly in his bright red dungarees and yellow wellingtons. The contrast between the dark possibly cold outside of the house is made obvious by the fact that the inside of the house looks really warm and cosy with lots of muted orange and yellow colours.
Because the facial expressions are obvious, children can talk about how the characters feel- whan Baby Bear is miserable, he really does look miserable.
**OTHER BITS OF INFORMATION**
My copy of the book is published by Macmillan Children's Books, 1983, ISBN 0-333-40438-6.
It can be bought from amazon, with prices starting from 99p for used and £4.99 for a new copy.
**OTHER BOOKS BY THE AUTHOR**
Jill Murphy has written and illustrated some great children's books, including:
Peace At Last
All In One Piece
The Worst Witch
On The way Home
As I said at the beginning, this is one of our favourites, along with some of the other Jill Murphy books.
The story and illustrations really appeal to children's imaginations, and I think the fact that Baby Bear shows real initiative in his role play, encourages children to do the same.
Whilst i think it's strange that Mrs bear talks about a bath and then disappears merely highlights the age I am. Children don't find it strange that Baby Bear is then allowed to go to the cupboard under the stairs to find his rocket. All of this time, though I am thinking the thought "where is Mrs Bear-it's bathtime".
Children also love the fact that he whooshes out of the chimney and again find this the most natural thing in the world to do. They don't doubt for one moment that he will go to the moon, and little miss enjoys the bit at the end when he is talking to his mum about his trip to the moon. She doesn't believe him, and little miss feels delighted that she knows something his mum doesn't know, because he HAS been to the moon.
I would read this story to children from an age when they enjoy a story and can understand the plot (such as it is). there is quite alot of writing on each page, but in my experience, children as young as 3 years old enjoy the story and can talk about what is happening and what they would do on the moon.
Lots of ways to encourage children to use their imaginations- where would they go? What would they take? Who would they take? How would they feel? The list is endless.
Lovely bedtime story, and one which I would recommend.
thanks for reading.
Summary: Pleasant story by well known author