Norton and the Borrowing Bear (Gabriel Evans, Berbay)
Gabriel Evans is fast becoming one of the most consistently delightful Australian picture book creators of recent years. With each release he adds to his oeuvre with such apparent ease, you wonder if he hasn’t been making picture books for his entire life. His latest picture book Norton and the Borrowing Bear is yet another example of the writer and artist’s superb work. In a neighbourhood where everyone is busy rushing here and there, no-one has the time to make friends. So when Bear moves in next door to Norton, it seems like a fantastic thing; so much so that Norton invites Bear over for dinner. They have a lot in common and things seem to be going swimmingly—that is, until Bear asks to borrow Norton’s favourite fluffy slippers and Norton is too polite to refuse. Then, one thing after another, Bear keeps borrowing Norton’s things until one day Norton snaps and Bear returns everything he’s borrowed. Just when their friendship seems irreparably broken, Bear asks to borrow one more thing: Norton, to be his friend. Norton and the Borrowing Bear is a picture book for everyone. Children aged three and up, existing fans of Evans’s, and those yet to be enchanted by his work will be thrilled with this book.
Michael Earp is a writer, bookseller and the manager of The Little Bookroom.