Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Review - A Boy, A Bear, A Balloon

A Boy, A Bear, A Balloon
by Brittany Rubiano
illustrated by Mike Wall
Date: 2018
Publisher: Disney Press
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 40
Format: hardcover
Source: library

Retelling touching scenes from the upcoming Walt Disney Studios' upcoming Christopher Robin film, this charming picture book finds Christopher reuniting with Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore, and the rest of his old friends when he returns to the Hundred Acre Wood for the first time since childhood. As he returns to the life he once new, Christopher sees the world through new eyes and discovers that even as everything around us seems to change, the most important things remain constant.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

Short version: Skip the book. Watch the movie.

Longer version: This picture book takes the drabbest scenes from the Christopher Robin movie and turns them into an equally drab children's story. The narrative basically covers just the part of the movie where Christopher Robin returns to the Hundred Acre Wood to find it in shambles. The animals are all hiding in fear of Heffalumps and when the adult Christopher Robin returns, he causes a bit of a panic. He has to convince them that he's not a threat, and then find Pooh, who's gone missing with his balloon.

I watched the movie not long ago, and while I didn't love it, it had a certain charm. (And the CGI animals interacting with the human actors was just incredible. I'd recommend watching it for that alone, especially if you love special effects.) It was kind of dark, however, especially in the beginning when Christopher Robin returns to his childhood fantasy world to find it basically dying. Those scenes are really not the first ones I'd think of if I were wanting to make a picture book based on the movie! They were drab and unappealing, perhaps to show how the magic died as Christopher Robin grew up and forgot about his old friends. Unfortunately, this makes the picture book rather uninspiring to look at. Although the characters are drawn well, the whole look is just boring and a bit depressing. Even Pooh's cheery red balloon does little to lighten the somewhat sombre mood.

The movie ends with much more colour and life. I would definitely recommend taking a look at the film... and perhaps giving this book a pass.

Premise: 2/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 2/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2.33 out of 5

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