Anyone But Bear / Albert in the Air

Anyone But Bear
Suzy Senior and Dubravka Kolanovic
Scamp Publishing

Fox is excitedly making plans to host a moonlight party. He starts compiling his invitation list – Deer? – tick, Squirrel?- tick. Bear? Definitely not. Off trots Fox still planning in his head when suddenly rocks cascade down the mountainside, some of which smash straight into the party planner.

Fox is left flat out on the path-side unable to move. Several hours later, along comes Deer: help at last thinks Fox now awake and all too aware of his injuries. However, with a look of disgust, Deer turns away and takes an alternative route to avoid passing the injured creature. As snowflakes begin to fall along scampers Squirrel carrying nuts but he too decides not to stop. Seemingly the safety of his nuts is more important than that of a fellow forest creature.

Fox begins to despair but then round the corner comes someone massive, someone with large paws and a hairy scary face. Oh no! Soon though, Fox’s fear dissipates as he sees not the scary countenance he first thought but a kindly caring one. So kind and caring that he takes Fox all the way back home to his den; not only that but Bear brings him sustenance and takes care of the little fox cubs and their parent all through the night. This selfless act is one that Fox will remember always.

Based on the parable of the Good Samaritan, Suzy’s story, with Dubravka Kolanovic’s splendidly expressive illustrations will certainly make youngsters think about the meaning of real friendship.

Albert in the Air
Ian Brown and Eoin Clarke

Albert the tortoise’s latest adventure sees him first wishing to emulate his winged friends and then, tunnelling his way beneath the garden fence into the next door garden and wandering out into the hubbub of the territory beyond. It’s there, while foraging among the piles of trash that he unintentionally finds that his wish is actually being fulfilled. The wind lifts a balloon entangled Albert skywards and he gets a tortoise-eye view of the sprawling urban landscape beneath him.

Meanwhile back on home territory, the other creatures are missing their friend and enlist the help of the birds to search for Albert. Will they return him safe and sound? 

The answer is yes, with the timely assistance of a bee and he makes his return felt in a rather noisy manner.

An amusing demonstration that the grass most definitely is not always greener and perhaps home is the best place to be. With its humorous ending and stand out illustrations, Albert’s new story is sure to please his numerous fans and will likely win him some more followers too. Don’t forget to peruse the information spread at the back of the book.

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