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

Sunday 18 March 2018

Review: Bertha and Bear

As a big fan of Christine Sharp's earlier picture books, I was (and you'll have to forgive the pun) absolutely buzzing about this new release.

Bertha and Bear
is positively luminous with Christine's distinctive illustrations and charm. Each page shines with hues of gold, orange and green to reflect her natural subject matter. The aim? To celebrate bees and their vital role in our ecosystem, while highlighting the plight of their declining numbers.

Bertha is a brave little bee who volunteers to find a new home for her hive, which is threatened by an impending storm. As the storm starts to brew, Bertha rises to the occasion with courage and determination, until she meets Bear in the woods. Will the bear who loves to knit and sip cups of tea be able to help the bees?

Although it dips in and out of disjointed rhyme, the overall story is delightful and rich with imagery. But, of course, the real beauty lies in the joyful illustrations. Vibrant colour and a wonderful sense of movement fill each page. Children are sure to fall in love with little Bertha and her sweet eyelashes, along with the yarn-bombing Bear and his cosy home in the woods. 

There is plenty of opportunity here for discussions about bees and the integral part they play in our natural world.

Title: Bertha and Bear
Author/Illustrator: Christine Sharp
Publisher: University of Queensland Press, $24.95
Publication Date: 28 August 2017
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9780702254062
For ages: 3+
Type: Picture Book