I promise that I don’t only buy books on rainy days, but this one is another great rainy day find. I couldn’t resist this album all drawn in watercolours AND about a bear.
First and foremost, the illustrations are beautiful. Jared Cullum strikes again with wonderful watercolours where light, textures and colours create a soft and descriptive world. I’m particularly impressed by how effectively he renders light and shadows. It is such a big difficulty for me; it’s mesmerizing to see a master at work.
Another thing that I really enjoyed was the rhythm of the story. Some pages are almost cinematographic, and you find yourself racing along with the characters. With often little words, Cullum creates whole scenes and emotions, touching and sometimes comical.
I also really enjoyed his character design. His bear is everything a child would love: big and strong, yet also vulnerable and gentle. The little girl is strong and willful and so relatable. The grandmother is also quite extraordinary with her tiny hands and big body that seems to me made for hugging. I also loved how the townspeople are depicted. Frankly, all the characters have something unique and special. I found myself wondering about each one of them. The possibilities for spinoffs are endless!
Finally, if nothing else will do it for you, the story of friendship between a bear and a little girl will warm the coldest of hearts. Filled with unlikely companions, this story is soft and beautiful, while still appealing to children and adults alike. Themes of friendship, trust and loyalty are explored in a story where camaraderie and love conquer all. I cannot wait for the other books to come out! In the meantime, I strongly suggest adding this title to your to-read list! (psst, you can even grab a signed copy!)