You know when you’ve read a truly gorgeous book when it leaves a warm glow of happiness inside you. ‘Me and Mister P’ by Maria Farrer with illustrations by Daniel Rieley does just that. All Arthur wants is a normal family but no, he’s ended up with the brother from Weirdsville. Liam is so embarrassing, but Mum and Dad can’t see that and give him all the attention. Leaving Arthur with zero! Zilch! A big fat NOTHING! At the end of his tether Arthur can’t see any solutions to his problems and thinks the only way out is to run away. But when he finds an enormous, funny polar bear standing on his door step he finds that life is about to change for the better in the strangest of ways. Prepare to meet MISTER P because there are times when only a polar bear will do.
This book is warm and funny in equal spades. Maria captures perfectly the frustration felt by Arthur towards his brother who is different and struggles to fit into a world filled with strange places, loud noises and crowds. Wonderfully empathetic it gives children an insight into the difficulties Liam faces as well as the effect it has on Arthur and the rest of his family. Reading books like this allows children to develop empathy and compassion without them necessarily realising it as they caught up in Mister P’s hilarious antics. Children will laugh out loud as they see a ginormous polar bear trying to squeeze into a car or playing keepy-uppies in the garden. Daniel Rieley’s glorious illustrations brilliantly highlight the incongruous situation that Arthur and Mister P find themselves and the emotions that they all experience throughout the story. I love how all the adults just accept Mister P without querying why there is a giant polar bear on their bus or in the classroom because like us all, he is a bit different. Paddington Bear meets Nanny McPhee in this delightful story about acceptance with an unlikely but charming friendship. An absolute joy to read!
Thank you to OUP and Maria Farrer for sending me a copy of this fantastic book.