Monday, June 11, 2012

A Boy and a Bear in a Boat by Dave Shelton

There's a boy. He hires a bear, who has a boat, to take him to his destination. He gets a bit sleepy, so he goes to sleep, expecting to be there when he wakes up. But when he does wake up, he finds that he's nowhere near where he wanted to be - and that the only thing he can see, apart from sea and sky, is the bear. And the boat. Which is named Harriet. This is going to be a long trip.

This is quite an odd book. Sometimes it's wonderfully odd, sometimes frustratingly odd, and ultimately, I think, satisfyingly odd. I wondered at times if I was reading some sort of parable or metaphor, given the small number of characters and the strange situations that they find themselves in. And although I think it's 'just a story,'  it's the kind of story that I can see people pouring over, sucking meaning out of, and writing long academic papers about. At its essence, it's exactly what the title says it is: a boy and a bear in a boat. It's a reading experience unlike any that I've had in a long time, and urge people to experience this book for themselves. I'd love to see it read in a book club for kids and adults and see what their reactions to the book are.

See more about Dave Shelton (and an alternate cover for A Boy and a Bear in a Boat) at his website. (I think I prefer the other one, although I do like the one shown here, too.)

I received a review copy from NetGalley courtesy of David Fickling Books.

Find it at IndieBound. 

Read it with:
The Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Good Dog, Bad Dog by Dave Shelton
Oddfellow's Orphanage by Emily Winfield Martin

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