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

Sunday 14 February 2021

Review: Ghostbear

Ghostbear began as a series of paintings by Paul McDermott, which later became a short film, and is now a picture book.

The illustrations are mostly black and white and tones of blue and grey, with splashes of other colours.

They create an emotion-filled atmosphere. 

It's quite difficult to pinpoint and explain what Ghostbear is about.

A polar bear, alone and isolated in the cold and dark, is looking for the other bears. The fish are missing, too.

The polar bear travels across the vastness of the Arctic.

It's a long and slow journey and when he reaches the ocean, there's nowhere else to go, until evenutally the ice breaks off with him on it, floating away to someone who has been waiting for him. 

And the polar bear remembers the good, beauty and love from his past.

Ghostbear has a haunting and dream-like quality to it. 

It's a book that will likely mean different things to different people.

Animals, the environment and climate change, relationships, ageing and death, are just some of the possible themes. The author's inspiration and motivations can be found in articles online, if you'd like to uncover them, but whatever the intent, it's the perception that matters here.

The story stands alone, with no explanations or notes given. 

Ghostbear may not be the right book for all children. While many may enjoy the story of a polar bear, the narrative may also be confusing, or perhaps even scary, for some young readers. It would however be a good discussion piece, particularly for older children and young adults.

Ghostbear is a thought-provoking picture book.

Title: Ghostbear
Author/Illustrator: Paul McDermott
Publisher: Omnibus Books, $ 24.99
Publication Date: 2020
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781760669225
For ages: 7+
Type: Picture Book