by Nick Butterworth
Albert the Bear
HarperCollins, September, 2003.
Hardcover, 28 pages.
Everyone thought the new arrival at the toy shop, Albert the Bear, was really sad. He seemed to take everything way too seriously and when people tried to make him smile he just remained sad. Albert would just sit and stare with an awful frown on his face. Everyone felt bad for the new sad bear, so Sally, a hippopotamus, tried to conjure up a plan to cheer him up. Sally and her friends, a mouse named Pickle, a Jack-in-a-box named Jack-in-a-box, Maurice the steam engine, Lizzie the humming top, Toby the cat and others began putting on a play for the sad bear. The first two acts were a miss. Pickle forgot her lines and Jack-in-a-box bounced too high and crashed. Albert kept watching, but was not amused. "Please," said Albert as if he had some explanation for his glum behavior, but before he could finish Sally suddenly came out with bright red lipstick, a pointy yellow hat and ballerina outfit. Sally didn't mean to be clumsy, but she slipped and crashed right into Albert. Albert shouted, "I am not sad at all. It is just the way I am made. I just happen to have a sad look on my face." But now he did have a smile on his face. Some of Sally's lipstick had stuck on his mouth, creating a very happy smile. All the toys started laughing and Albert starting laughing too. His laugh was enormous and boisterous and it made everyone laugh all over again.
Albert the Bear is a very good story, full of terrific illustrations and good humor. In addition to the wonderful story and pictures, the book also includes guest appearance in the pictures by some of children's favorite characters including Bob the Builder, Paddington, Kipper, Noddy and Where's Waldo.
Albert the Bear is available for purchase on Amazon.com
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This review was published in the May-June, 2004 of The Internet Writing Journal.
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