Me and Mister P: Maya’s Storm

Me and Mister P: Maya’s Storm
Maria Farrer, illustrated by Daniel Rieley
Oxford University Press

In this latest story, polar bear Mister P washes up on the beach close to young Maya’s home in Lighthouse Cottage. Maya is still getting used to being part of a new family – Mum, Dad, big brother Max and sister, Iris. She now feels safe there but memories of her old life in another country haunt her occasionally.

Maya has formed a special bond with Granny Anne who lives on the edge of the village, but other family members are worried about Gran –her forgetfulness and at times erratic behaviour, seem to be on the increase. Things on the Gran front are going to have to change, says Mum.

So when Maya and Gran discover at the back of a cave, a huge polar bear with a suitcase bearing a label which reads Mister P, 1 Lighthouse Cottages, Maya knows that she now has more than just Gran to worry about. She certainly doesn’t want her parents finding out about the new furry visitor and Gran seems to have taken a shine to him.

But how are they going to provide him with the diet of fish he needs?

However Maya cannot spend all her time worrying about Mister P. There’s a birthday party to be organised too.

No matter where Mister P lands, he always manages to end up as a hero and so it is here. Along the way though the rest of Maya’s family of course, discovers him – first her brother at whose place of work he causes a degree of alarm, then Iris and her parents.

Eventually Mister P gets itchy feet; he cannot stay forever after all; but when he does go Maya knows she’ll never forget him; and her brother gives her a vey special something as a reminder of their time together.

Funny, disquieting at times and tinged with sadness, but readers will close the book with an abiding feeling of warmth and an even greater endearment than ever towards its main protagonist. As always, Daniel Rieley has done a great job with his expressive greyscale illustrations.

Me and Mister P: Ruby’s Star

Me and Mister P: Ruby’s Star
Maria Farrer, illustrated by Daniel Rieley
Oxford University Press

Mister P is back and now he’s dropped into young Ruby’s already packed life. With absent father, a mother and a little brother Leo to take care of, let alone attending school, her days and nights are pretty jam-packed and there certainly isn’t room in it, or their not very big flat, for a large white furry polar bear.

He’s certainly not what she had in mind when she made that wish for a birthday surprise. The trouble is, having drifted down in a hot-air balloon and landed in the nearby park, it doesn’t look as though he’s going anywhere in a hurry.
Thank goodness then for kindly neighbour, Mrs Moresby, who’s not averse to supplying the odd packet or so of fish fingers.

Activities as diverse as busking (to raise money to repay Mrs Moresby), and skateboarding (Ruby is a fan on account of her father and eager to improve her skills; Mr P. needs four skateboards and he’s pretty inept but determined) feature large and very large.

‘Perseverance, guts, determination, friends’ those are the requisites for Connor to be a skateboarder. They’re also what Ruby deems she needs to survive.

Survive she does and much more, emerging by the end, emotionally stronger, with a greater self understanding and generally an all round better person, thanks in no small part to Mister P. a character that utters not a word throughout the whole story, but also thanks to Mrs Moresby, an understanding headteacher and new friend Connor.

This fine book encompasses a number of themes including empathy, tolerance, acceptance and diversity, all of which are subtly woven into the story that also includes the needs of young carers. It’s beautifully illustrated by Daniel Rieley.

Me and Mister P


Me and Mister P
Maria Farrer illustrated by Daniel Rieley
Oxford UniversityPress
Arthur is less than happy with his lot: he longs for a normal family wherein he can have his fair share of parental attention. Instead he has to contend with a brother on the autism spectrum towards whom much of his parents’ attention is directed.
Now, sent to his room instead of being able to watch the much anticipated football match on TV, Arthur – with lucky crystal in one pocket and survival tin in t’other – decides to leave home,, for good! But what, or whom should he encounter on the doorstep but an enormous polar bear, Mister P. The bear doesn’t speak but Arthur gleans this from the name on his old brown suitcase, which has a distinct fishy aroma about it and has a label with Arthur’s family address on. Could it be that the creature intends to stay?
He does; and Arthur’s life starts to get a whole lot better– not to mention that of brother Liam and the rest of their family.
Full of warmth and humour, this story is a delight to read, either aloud to a class, or as an individual. Listeners will revel in such scenarios as that when Mister P. endeavours to fit his huge bulk into Mum’s car (hilariously illustrated by Daniel Rieley) …


or that of Mr Craddock’s class endeavouring to discover interesting facts about polar bears while Mister P. reclines on beanbags in a corner of their classroom.


There’s another character who needs a mention too, and that’s Rosie. She doesn’t put in an appearance until about half way through the book but she’s certainly pretty persuasive: “Anyway, our scores are going to improve because now Mister P is going to be our lucky mascot, isn’t he? “ ‘She put her hands together in the praying position.’ “PLEASE.“; and contributes some extremely apposite insights and comments: “See … Mister P knows how to get things sorted.
And a sorter of things is most definitely what Mister P. is – in more ways than one – shades of Nurse Matilda aka Nanny McPhee here.
I’ll say no more other than to urge you to get hold of Maria Farrer’s superbly empathetic book, made all the more so by Daniel Rieley’s wonderfully droll illustrations.

bookgivingdayblogbadge-1 localbookshops_nameimage-2