What Happens Next?

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what happens next

SUWANNAKIT, Tull What Happens Next? Walker, 2014 unpaged $27.95 ISBN 9781922077561 SCIS 1661545

There is a gentle humour in this book.  Granny and her granddaughter, Ellie, travel into town one morning.  The journey is enlivened by Granny telling a story, prompted frequently by Ellie’s question, what happens next? The story involves a bear (who looks rather like Granny and is indeed a grandmother bear) and a little bear.  The activities of these two echo those of Granny and Ellie, even wearing red gumboots like those of Granny and Ellie.  Ellie knows the bears are with them on the bus and on the merry-go-round, but Granny doesn’t see them until she turns around during a game of hide-and-seek.  She is startled and a little frightened and is unable to continue the story.  Ellie takes it up, however, and the adventures become wilder and wilder.  At the end of the day, Granny (and Grandma Bear) tuck their grandchildren into bed.

There is an endearing relationship between grandmother and granddaughter in this book.  It is filled with love and warmth , the grandmother is patient and the two clearly enjoy each other’s company.  The book celebrates inter-generational friendship, because Ellie and Granny are very good friends, and sharing as the two share fun and adventure.  The book is also a celebration of imagination, an element which is enhanced by the illustrations, an important part of the storytelling.  In addition to the boots which are like Granny’s, Grandma Bear wears steel-rimmed glasses like Granny’s as well as a hat with a flower like Granny’s.  The bears move from being the story which Granny tells, to active participants in the expanded adventure.  Children will notice all these changes.  The layout is another important element, with double-page spreads allowing rollicking movement and joyful adventuring in the illustrations.

reviewed by Margot Hillel

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