Book Review: A Boy and A Bear in a Boat by Dave Shelton

A Boy and A Bear in a Boat by Dave Shelton is a children's chapter book that leaves me unsure as to how I feel about it. As the title suggests, there is a boy, a bear, and a boat. The book opens with the boy approaching the bear on the boat and, when asked, saying that he just wanted to get to the 'other side'. The boy and the bear set off and the journey does not go as planned; thanks to 'unforeseeable anomalies', a storm, and a sea monster. Will they ever reach their destination, will the boat survive the journey, will anyone see the boy's message in the bottle, and just what is in that very last sandwich?

A Boy and A Bear in a Boat
as and interesting book. some have compared it to Life of Pi, but since I skipped that read I cannot make that leap. There is no history for the bear or boy given, no reason behind the trip, not even names. There are some great action scenes and fun moments of humor. I really like the dry wit of the story, it had moments of almost Monty Python styled humor, particularly when the boat is under attack by a sea monster.

Readers do get looks into the thoughts of both the boy and the bear, and they do change and grow. There are moments when I started thinking thoughts far beyond what is written on the pages, including questions such as 'is the story a dream?' and 'is one character's will or thoughts directing the action?'. There is some resentment and challenging of authority by the boy, and the bear has his own challenges to face. There is quite a bit of the strange and unusual within the tale, which I liked, however I like to know more about characters than what happens in a single part of their live. I was also bothered by the non-ending, which showed some character growth but no actual conclusion to the pair's adventure.

A Boy and A Bear in a Boat is an interesting read, which I started and stopped several times. As a reader that tends to focus on characters and character driven plots, this story was hard for me to get through. However, I can appreciate the book because I enjoyed its uniqueness, humor, and action. Adults and children around eight and older that tend to prefer action driven stories, and those that make you think beyond the pages will enjoy this book. Readers that prefer character driven stories, but are looking to step outside their comfort zone might want to take a look and see if it offers what they want.
Post a Comment