Sadly, there is nothing about this book I liked. However, I know that this is going to be immensely popular with most people. There is a charm to it that I am not totally seeing but know that others will.
Zanni Louise’s Archie and the Bear seems to have a good start. There is a boy who wants to be a bear. Correction, is a bear. Therefore, the theme of identifying as “other than birth” seems to be the theme. But when Archie meets an actual bear (who of course, is not a bear, but a boy) you think they will form a friendship of understanding. What happens instead is they eat sandwiches and eventually switch “costumes” and go home to live in Archie’s (parent-less) home. Where they eat more sandwiches and go to sleep. Therefore, I am left to wonder, is the bear real or a teddy bear? The fact that the story ends on the fact that bears and boys like honey sandwiches, quilts and warm fires does lends itself to this fact as well as the fact we might be “different” but we are the “same” where it counts. I am guessing that you are supposed to think everything is play. Yet, things are too “real-like” to totally let me fall into the “imagination” category.
I was hoping that David Mackintosh could pull it out of the not-liking slump with the illustrations. Sadly, it fell short for me here, too. Archie is odd looking. The real bear is scary looking. And possibly might be a bearskin rug. Yet even if it is not, it still was very creepy to see Archie sprawled out on it. In fact, the illustrations just add to the fact I cannot “get into” this story.
With that said, of course, I appreciate the hard work that went into writing and drawing this book and wish both author and illustrator great success.