Through five short stories, readers get to know Maudie and her best friend Bear. Maudie is a little girl who is always planning the next thing for them to do. She can be bossy, definitely has opinions, and yet has a charm that is hard to resist. Bear certainly does not resist at all, instead helping Maudie plan their next escapade. The pair have a series of adventures from a bike ride that is more about fashion than exercise to a very Goldilocks-like encounter to dancing under the stars. The two are not without friction, having to apologize occasionally for things that go wrong. They are a cheery pair to read about and one wishes for a Bear of their very own.
Ormerod’s writing is simple and lovely. She captures stories in a few words, selecting them for impact and ease. Then she adds a wry sense of humor and a little twist at the end of each tale that add to the appeal of the book. The friendship of the two is shown as complex yet completely natural. It works particularly well that the friendship is not perfect or easy, but real. The stories have just enough action and interaction in them to make them a pleasure to read, but not too long or too short. Like Goldilocks, these are just right.
Blackwood’s Illustrations are stellar. She captures the winning attitude of the text, creating a book that is welcoming in its obvious warmth and cleverness. The largeness of bear makes one want to cuddle up for days and the ever-moving Maudie is a perfect foil. The two together are the perfect pair, ready for any adventure that comes their way.
Originally published in Australia, this book’s old-fashioned feel combined with its sunny nature is very inviting for young readers. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from copy received from G. P. Putnam’s Sons.