'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Tuesday 7 May 2013

Review: The Boy, the Bear, the Baron and the Bard

A young boy kicking a ball in the street wanders into an old, abandoned theatre. Exploring the wonders of the costume rooms and the dusty props, he wanders through the heavy velvet curtains and suddenly finds himself transported to Elizabethan England.

What follows is an amazing escapade as the young boy befriends and releases a trapped bear, avoids the menacing Baron and meets The Bard himself as he roams the streets of London. What makes the story even more exciting and intriguing is the wordless format, drawing the reader into the role of storyteller.

There is so much humour and information in the wonderful illustrations by Gregory Rogers, that it is possible to get something new from The Boy, the Bear, the Baron and the Bard every time you read it. You don’t need to know anything about Shakespeare or London in the 1500s to enjoy the excitement and adventure of the story.

Wordless picture books offer such wonderful freedom to explore story, characters and details within the story. My own children have loved reading this book over and over. Unfamiliar details within the pictures have sparked lots of questions and we’ve always shared lots of giggles at the wonderful humour found within the illustrations.

I always feel a little sad when I get to the end of the story and the boy returns to the empty rundown theatre again, although I can console myself with the knowledge that there will be a new story waiting next time I open the pages of the book.

If you enjoy this book, make sure you also track down a copy of the sequel Midsummer Knight.

Title: The Boy, the Bear, the Baron and the Bard
Author/Illustrator: Gregory Rogers
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $15.95 RRP
Publication Date: January 2008
Format: Soft cover
ISBN: 9781741145359
For ages: 7+
Type: Picture Book