Children’s Book Week Review – Archie and the Bear

text by Zanni Louise
illustrated by David Mackintosh

 Archie and the Bear is one of this year’s Children’s Book Council of Australia notable titles, in the Picture Book of the Year category.

Archie and the bear - cover

Archie and the Bear

Archie has something to say, but no one is listening. So Archie leaves home … and discovers someone else with something to say. And because they both know how that feels, they both listen.

This is a weird and wonderful story about being who you are (even when you’re not).

 

This book is a deceptively clever and delightfully quirky tale about a little boy named Archie – just don’t call him one because he’s obviously a bear – who takes off to live in the forest and comes across a real bear – just don’t call him one because he’s obviously a boy! – and the little journey of discovery they embark upon.
Archie and the Bear_A
Archie and the Bear_B
Archie and the Bear_C
After the initial shock and confusion of their meeting they decided to sit down together and enjoy some honey sandwiches. Of course Archie, being a bear, liked them because they have honey in them and bear, being a boy, liked them because they are sandwiches. They go on into the wild together, sharing their boy and bear experiences and skills.

“The bear showed Archie how to skim stones across the water.
Archie was very good at skimming stones.”

“Archie showed the bear how to catch fish with his claw.
The bear was very good at catching fish.”

After much adventuring (and honey sandwiches) the boy and the bear find that while they may appear to be very different and seem to enjoy different things, they are still able to find a common ground and understanding, share and enjoy many things together. They are not so very different really.

A simple but important message, subtly crafted with a pinch of humour, well told and illustrated. What more could you ask for?