Bruce can’t rid himself of the goslings, no matter how hard he tries. They have imprinted on him, and follow him everywhere. Bruce the bear is now Mother Bruce. Being a parent to one is hard work, and being a parent to four is even harder, especially when you’re a grumpy bear.
The goslings grow from “annoying baby geese” to “stubborn teenage geese” and “boring adult geese” who don’t understand the concept of migration. Just as he tried to return the goslings to their mother, Bruce makes several attempts to teach the soon full-grown geese about flying south for the winter, before he finds a solution.
The illustrations in Mother Bruce add a lot to the written story, with strong visual and situational comedy. Author-illustrator Ryan T. Higgins has created a bear full of character who I felt had a touch of Eeyore about him. Bruce is highly expressive, and the goslings are cute and stereotypical youngsters. I particularly enjoyed the picture of Bruce, hands on hips, with all four goslings strapped to his chest, and others of the teenage goslings chilling out with headphones on, and later dressed in flying hats and goggles.
Mother Bruce is both fun and funny, although more likely to appeal to an older audience who can understand the concepts and their underlying humour.
Title: Mother Bruce
Author/Illustrator: Ryan T. Higgins
Publisher: Disney Hyperion, $28.99 RRP
Publication Date: 2015
For ages: 5+
Type: Picture book