Picture books

Happy Birthday Old Bear by Jane Hissey

Old Bear is one of my favourite books from when I was a child (read our review here), it was published 30 years ago and now, author and illustrator Jane Hissey has written a new book to celebrate. Happy Birthday Old Bear published by Scribblers.

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We even have a new character in this book, a very lovable elephant named Elsie.

Old Bear is a much loved member of the family of toys and as his birthday approaches his friends are preparing to make his day just as special as he is with a party in the garden. All the toys are busying themselves with the preparations; Little Bear is wrapping presents, Jolly Tall is on balloons and Bramwell Brown has the job of making the cake. Elsie is trying her best to help everyone but whilst her enthusiasm can’t be faulted she is a little over excitable and somewhat clumsy!

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After some exuberant present wrapping and a near miss with the cake the party gets underway. That is until Elsie almost ends up getting blown away by a gust of wind! Thankfully, these brave toys are always ready to rescue a friend in need and the party is saved, just in time for cake.

I’m happy to say that I have passed on my love of Old Bear to my four year old and he was really excited to read this new story. Especially as it is about a birthday party which are of course the most exciting things when you’re four.

The very idea that toys might be able to come alive and have adventures of their own is such a magical one and it has been portrayed so beautifully across all the Old Bear stories. They have a timeless quality to them and continue to appeal to children across generations.

The brilliance of these books is in the detail; outstanding illustrations are a hallmark of Jane Hissey’s work and this new book does not disappoint. A stunning book and a very fitting tribute to everyone’s favourite Old Bear.

You can find out more about Jane Hissey’s work on her lovely website here.

Many thanks to Scribblers for sending me a copy of this book for review.

We were thrilled to host a Q & A post with Jane Hissey as part of the Happy Birthday Old Bear blog tour. The Year 2 children in the school I work at thought up some brilliant questions, you can read them along with Jane’s answers here.

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