Dad’s Bug Bear
Dad’s Bug Bear is the story of a young animal-loving boy and his grumpy animalphobic Dad. It’s told in the first person, through the eyes of the boy, which is unusual for a picturebook, and in this case works.
When the boy’s goldfish dies he’s distraught, so his mum promises him a trip to the zoo as a ‘cheer-uptreat’. ‘But I don’t like zoos,’ Dad moans, his arms folded tightly across his chest. But Dad’s dragged along anyway. When the family get there the animals have all escaped, and when the family get home again, the animals have followed them. When a polar bear saves Dad’s life, he begins to change his mind about ‘smelly animals’.
The illustrations by debut artist, Natalie Chivers, are most distinctive. She uses muted colour, expressive brush strokes and collage to create eye-catching images. She captures facial expressions and body language perfectly and her grumpy Dad is a tour de force in his maths paper work shirt with newspaper sleeves, and extra long stripy tie.
Chivers has also created clever barcode skyscrapers, till receipt milk bottles and a graph paper bath and is certainly an illustrator to watch out for in the future.
Dad’s Bug Bear is a book to read over and over again. Highly recommended, especially for young animal lovers and grumpy dads. Age: 3+