Leigh Hodgkinson reunites the domestic terrorist Goldilocks and the sweet, innocent Baby Bear-as-was in this role reversal story.
He has grown up and is now an independent loner, he's "Just the One Bear". He gets a little muddled, though, and loses his way. Bear wanders from his woodland home to a bustling, fairytale version of New York - replete with signs announcing the likes of the "Fairy Godmother Theatre" and "Princess Avenue".
In his dizziness, he seeks shelter in an ivory tower, wheeling through the foyer and up many floors until he finds himself in a luxurious apartment. His search for porridge is in vain, the chairs are bizarre and the beds are far from ideal. Until he settles on a cozy one that's just a tad too small.
From his deep, dreamy slumber, Bear becomes aware that a mummy type person, a daddy type person and a little person have returned to the home and they are aghast at the havoc the uninvited guest has wrecked.
When they discover him under the duvet, however, home-owner rage melts into recognition as the mummy person and the Bear stare into each others' eyes and remember their last encounter - when Goldilocks was the interloper and the Bear family was the injured party. This reunion leads to a pleasant evening of porridge and bonding before Bear, now equipped with a map and NYC souvenirs, ventures home.
The story is charming - quite a simple idea, beautifully executed. The language is vibrant and lovingly phrased. And the font choices compliment the emotion and action wonderfully. The characters are perfect, really well imagined and stylishly depicted.
Hodgkinson's cut-out multimedia artwork is full of spark, texture and delicious colours. The world is a wonderful mix of chic metropolitan sketches and warm characters . Her background in animation lends these illustrations a great stop-motion quality - it all feels very alive, as if everything is just about to move and we've captured the perfect moment in each scene.
This is a fun and wry exploration of old acquaintances and of karma. And it might encourage little readers to imagine what their favourite characters do after a story finishes and a book closes - great stuff.
Thanks for reading,