Age Range: 3 to 8
Happy Birthday Old Bear!
Old Bear is celebrating his 30th birthday this year and Jane Hissey has written Happy Birthday Old Bear to commemorate the occasion. As huge Old Bear fans we’ve been eagerly awaiting this new story and we absolutely love it. Jane’s familiar playroom characters are joined by a new friend, Elsie, a very cute elephant who unwittingly ensures that the party is a memorable occasion.
The Story: The toys are very busy with preparations for Old Bear’s garden party when the umbrella that Elsie has bought for Old Bear gets caught by a gust of wind and she is blown into the air. Luckily Hoot comes to Elsie’s rescue before the toys sit down to enjoy a very original 30th birthday cake.
The toys’ party preparations don’t always go smoothly and there is a slight mishap with the cake (we’ve had many of those ourselves!). Bramwell Brown is in charge of catering while Rabbit and Sailor form a band but it is Little Bear and Elsie’s antics that make us laugh. Elsie’s enthusiasm for tying bows, blowing up balloons and making music is infectious and ensures that the atmosphere is festive although slightly chaotic. The two characters are like two excited children and want to be involved with all the preparations whether they are good at them or not!
Jane’s illustrations convey the party atmosphere perfectly and it’s great to see all of her characters involved in the story. We love the final illustration with the cake that has been decorated to reflect Elsie’s adventure and my daughter’s favourite picture shows the toys blowing up balloons. I love the way that Jane has changed the expression on Little Bear’s face when he tries to make music and also to show him looking worried when Elsie is blown away. Elsie is adorable and fits in with the playroom friends really well, she has a wonderfully bubbly personality which adds vitality to the story (although Duck is slightly disapproving of her behaviour at times!).
Congratulations to Jane for bringing Old Bear and his friends to life in so many stories. We have enjoyed reading their playroom adventures and think that Happy Birthday Old Bear is a fitting tribute to a character who is loved by many parents as well as their children. We’ve baked and decorated him a 30th birthday cake. Can you guess who it is? His trousers have birthday braces today in honour of the occasion!
Author / Illustrator: Jane Hissey
Thank you so much to Scribblers for sending us a copy of Happy Birthday Old Bear. Jane’s Old Bear blog tour starts on Story Snug on Monday and she has written a fascinating post about how Old Bear first came to be published. You can also follow #OldBear30 on Twitter to keep up to date with his birthday celebrations.