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Blanket & Bear, a Remarkable Pair
     

Blanket & Bear, a Remarkable Pair

by L.J.R. Kelly, Yoko Tanaka (Illustrator)
 

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In the vein of picture book favorites such as The Velveteen Rabbit,The Giving Tree, and Knuffle Bunny.

From debut picture book author L.J.R. Kelly, and acclaimed illustrator Yoko Tanaka, comes a poignant ode to well-loved toys. Blanket and Bear have always gone everywhere with their boy—but one day they are

Overview

In the vein of picture book favorites such as The Velveteen Rabbit,The Giving Tree, and Knuffle Bunny.

From debut picture book author L.J.R. Kelly, and acclaimed illustrator Yoko Tanaka, comes a poignant ode to well-loved toys. Blanket and Bear have always gone everywhere with their boy—but one day they are accidentally left behind. On a daring adventure across oceans and faraway lands, they travel to find their way back to the boy, meeting new friends along the way.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
When a blanket and teddy bear are separated from their beloved owner, they turn into a questing duo: the bear, an indomitable Odysseus, braving the elements and even resisting the pull of an island of “lost blankets and bears,/ living in retirement,/ without worries or cares,” while the blanket serves as a sail, tent, parachute, and source of warmth. When the remarkable pair finally does find the boy, he’s “so grown-up! so tall!” with a new focus for his affection: sports and girls. A happy ending that sends the two back to the island (“No longer owned,/ free to do as they wish”) keeps this bittersweet story from falling into the downer camp. Kelly, a debut author (and grandson of Roald Dahl), writes austere, emotionally blunt rhymes (“they were no longer needed./ Their time was now through”) that, when combined with Tanaka’s (One Moon, Two Cats) velvety but highly formal acrylic illustrations, keep the book’s more playful fantasy elements in check. On the spectrum of stories about the inner lives of playthings, this is more Velveteen Rabbit than Toy Story. Ages 3–5. Illustrator’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Aug.)
School Library Journal
12/01/2013
PreS-Gr 1—Kelly gives lost possessions a new life in his first book. At first, the stuffed brown bear and the fuzzy white blanket are loved by a boy. They keep him company and give him a sense of security. When they are separated on a voyage, each longs to find the other. As time passes, though, the bear realizes the boy has new interests (baseball and friends) and he decides to make a new home on the Island of Lost Blankets and Bears. In this land, toys pass the time by playing and telling stories about their former owners. Tanaka's paintings are almost otherworldly. The bears have human personalities and behaviors, and the scenery appears covered in a misty light. The message is heartfelt and it may comfort children who are missing their favorite toys.—Tanya Boudreau, Cold Lake Public Library, AB, Canada
Kirkus Reviews
Where do old toys and blankets go? Their own private island, it seems. In gentle, rhyming verse, a blanket and a bear are presented to a baby boy who takes to them instantly. When the previously inseparable threesome are separated during an ocean voyage, the boy is bereft. Meanwhile, the blanket and bear set off to find their owner, discovering instead a land where lost objects like them enjoy the island life. In a twist some won't see coming, the blanket and bear initially reject the lost-toy paradise, only to return to it when it is clear that their human really has outgrown them. It ends, "Now think for a minute / of the toys you once knew. / Are they now on that island, / telling stories of you?" Evidently meaning to soothe fretful children who've been separated from their best beloved objects, Kelly's text, his debut, is quite effective. Tanaka's artistic style, on the other hand, only really takes off when blanket and bear are on their own, and the humans, painted with heavy-lidded doe eyes, are little more than a distant memory. Only then do the soft acrylics soar, as capable in their depictions of sun-drenched landscapes as they are in those of the threadbare, split seams of a much-loved toy's backside. Despite the touch-and-go artwork, the book can offer copious comfort to children with the suggestion that their closest childhood friends have found second lives elsewhere. (Picture book. 4-8)
From the Publisher
"Kelly, a debut author (and grandson of Roald Dahl), writes austere, emotionally blunt rhymes [that], when combined with Tanaka’s (One Moon, Two Cats) velvety but highly formal acrylic illustrations, keep the book’s more playful fantasy elements in check. On the spectrum of stories about the inner lives of playthings, this is more Velveteen Rabbit than Toy Story."—Publishers Weekly

"Kelly gives lost possessions a new life in his first book . . . The message is heartfelt and it may comfort children who are missing their favorite toys"—School Library Journal

"Can offer copious comfort to children with the suggestion that their closest childhood friends have found second lives elsewhere."—Kirkus Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399256813
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
08/29/2013
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
8.80(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
AD600L (what's this?)
Age Range:
3 - 5 Years

Meet the Author

L. J. R. Kelly was born in London, England, and comes from a family filled with other writers. He studied politics at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, and writing at Dartmouth College. He lives and writes in London. Visit him at www.LJRKelly.com.

 
Yoko Tanaka is a graduate of the Art Center College in Pasadena, California and has illustrated several books for children, including the New York Times bestseller, The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo. Yoko lives in London, England. You can visit Yoko at www.yokotanaka.com.

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