Welcome by Barroux

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Welcome by Barroux

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A non-preachy buty very perceptive look at the problems which migrants face. It might look like a children's picture book, but everyone should read it. Here at Bookbag we can't recommend it highly enough.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: September 2016
Publisher: Egmont
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1405280532

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Four polar bears were on the ice, doing what polar bears do (reading, lounging at the side of the pool, er, sea) when suddenly there was a loud cracking noise and three of the bears found themselves stranded on a relatively small ice floe. The floe drifts away into the middle of a big blue ocean. What to do? Well, short term, there are always games to play:

I spy with my little eye something beginning with W...

Then there was the storm and one of the bears was nearly lost, but eventually they see land. It's the one where the cows live and the bears ask if the can live there, but apparently they are too furry, too tall, too bear-ish. So off they have to go again, with their ice floe getting smaller. Fortunately they spot another land: it's the one where the panda lives, apparently all on his own. This time they're refused permission to land because there are too many of them and there's just not enough room, as you can see.

They are really quite desperate when they arrive at the next island. They plead to come ashore, but the giraffes prefer not to see them and look the other way. There's tea to be drunk after all. The bears' position is precarious when they have the great good fortune to find a land all to themselves - their new home. Then a boat full of monkeys arrive...

I'm not going to tell you what happens next - you'll have to read the book and find out - but I doubt that there's anyone who hasn't made the connection with the plight of people who are forced from their homes and so often fail to find even basic human kindness. It's an appalling situation and it's everyone's responsibility, but Barroux tells his story with a light touch and a sprinkling of humour, which takes nothing away from the message.

The illustrations are gorgeous, superficially simple, but you'll find something you've not noticed before each time you read the story. One bear has half-moon reading glasses. The bear lounging at the side of the water has a fancy drink complete with a little umbrella. Before they became migrants (and thus, in the eyes of so many, scary, dangerous bears) they were so normal and when they do find somewhere to live they just want to be normal bears again (they take up badminton...)

This might look like a picture book. It might look as though it's only for children but there's a message in there that we should all take to heart. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

Barroux has blown us away before: he's excellent on deforestation.

Buy Welcome by Barroux at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Welcome by Barroux at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Welcome by Barroux at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Welcome by Barroux at Amazon.com.


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