Blanche and Rocky by Stephen Gulbis

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Blanche and Rocky by Stephen Gulbis

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Category: For Sharing
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Blanche and Rocky live at the North and South Poles. When they try to visit each other it all goes wrong but they still meet each other. A beguiling story with a couple of lovable characters. Recommended.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: November 2008
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
ISBN: 978-0340930823

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Blanche is a big, beautiful white polar bear who lives in an igloo at the North Pole. She also wears a purple and white hat with pompoms and a matching scarf, but let's not bother too much about that. She's rather lonely as no one comes to visit her, so when she comes across an old china teapot she decides to write a note and puts it in the teapot before she floats it out to sea.

Rocky is a penguin and he lives in a large colony of other penguins at the South Pole. He's never lonely as he spends his days swimming, diving, snowballing and telling jokes. One day he found a teapot bobbing up and down at the edge of the water. Inside was Blanche's note and Rocky sent her a note back saying that he would be her pen pal - and off the teapot sailed again. Soon it was constantly travelling back and forth between the North and South Poles.

One day, when Blanche was about to send the teapot on its way, she decided to visit Rocky herself. She packed a present and hopped on a passing iceberg. It was a very long journey and she saw all sorts of ships but eventually she arrived at the South Pole - only to find that Rocky had set off to visit her. All she could do was to turn around and head off home again. I'm not going to tell you about the rather exciting way in which the two friends meet, but meet they do.

It's a lovely story, you know, and a wonderful way of introducing the three to five age group to the idea of there being a wider world out there, which is snowy and cold at the north and south but rather warmer in between. It fosters the idea of friendships between people of different races with a very light touch. Blanche is quiet and rather introverted whilst Rocky is the life and soul of the party, but still they are the best of friends. Ultimately it's also a beguiling story about two lovable characters which will appeal to both boys and girls.

The text is acceptable to read aloud, but it's the artwork which lifts it above the ordinary. Bold, bright colours bring the snowy wastes AND a desert island alive, but it's the vision of a polar bear splashing in a bath full of water whilst reading a letter which will stay with me. There's humour and plenty to discuss on every page. At the end there's a surprise. Lift the lid of the yellow teapot and you can slide out the letter in which Blanche tells Rocky that she's arrived home safely. It's cleverly done and more robust than I initially expected, although small fingers might need a little help to begin with. The letter is anchored in the book so it's unlikely to get lost.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If this book appeals to you then you might also like Big Blue Train by Julia Jarman and Adrian Reynolds.

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Buy Blanche and Rocky by Stephen Gulbis at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Blanche and Rocky by Stephen Gulbis at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Blanche and Rocky by Stephen Gulbis at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Blanche and Rocky by Stephen Gulbis at


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