This is a beautiful picture book; charming illustrations and sensitively written about big themes that touch at the heart of many children’s life worries – change.
Evie Bear is moving house and such a big change has unsettled her, causing her to question the nature of home, belonging and identity. Evie is not excited about moving, she is feeling… heavy. Like many of us would, she’s worried about making new friends and leaving her memories behind. The weight of the uncertainty of moving and starting afresh is sensitively portrayed through the touching dialogue and subdued facial expressions of Evie and her Daddy in the early part of the story.
There are some lovely details in the illustrations for the reader to pore over; the tiny mouse family packing their belongings, the animals busying themselves in the big town, the possessions piled high on Daddy Bear’s truck.
As Evie questions Daddy Bear about what their new home will be like, he responds with gentle wisdom to calm her fears. Such a lovely Daddy! Evie soon realises she has travelled further away from home than ever before but Daddy is there to sooth her fears and reassure her. He tells her that home can be all kinds of things; “Sometimes home is a cuddle. Sometimes home is having the space to be yourself… the best things about home aren’t things at all.”
We loved reading ‘Where’s Home, Daddy Bear?’ together. It was a picture book that sparks family conversation and poses some really interesting questions. The illustrations are beautiful and rich in depth and thoughtfulness. As a Dad to two girls, it is lovely to read a story based on the depth of understanding within a father-daughter relationship. One we can quickly relate to.
The absence of Mummy Bear is hinted at through the packing of a family portrait in a frame. We can only guess at what has happened to the family before and where she is. Her absence adds another layer of depth to this sensitive story.
Children will love this story; the beautiful layout and sensitive caring characters are so endearing. It would be a wonderful addition to any class library and I could imagine this being used to explore themes of change and worry.
You can find out more about the author and illustrator Nicola O’Byrne here.
Where’s Home, Daddy Bear? was published by Walker Books on 3rd May 2018 and you can get your own copy here!
Many thanks to Walker Books for sending us a copy to review.