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Bruno Springs up

by Sylvie Daigneault

A miniature house in the woods, a teddy-like bear called Bruno with his huggable parents, neat farmers’ fields with low stone walls, flowers, birds’ nests, flop-eared bunnies, friendly forest folk, pancakes – the world of Bruno Springs Up is secure and benign. The pictures, soft-edged pastels with repeating compositions of foliage enclosing and protecting Bruno and his friends, match the style of the text, a two-adjectives-and-a-noun rhythm reminiscent of school readers.

In Sylvie Daigneault’s first Bruno book, Bruno in the Snow, this coziness and predictability worked as a foil to an inventive plot in which Bruno’s naughtiness leads him into some real, if mild, danger. But in this reappearance of Bruno in a new season, I felt a lack of substance. Bruno, waking from hibernation, sets off in the flowery spring to find his rabbit friends, the twins Leo and Leah. Along the road of his quest, he encounters a helpful elderly fox and a frightening bull. At journey’s end, he finds his friends in their new home doting on their seven new siblings. Bruno himself is found by his parents and there is a big party by the light of the moon. In the final lines of the story, Bruno looks forward to summer, which will undoubtedly be the third book in the series.

As someone who spent endless childhood hours staring at the Pookie books, I’m not one to dismiss such a gentle woodland tale and I imagine that children who met Bruno in his winter adventure will enjoy this sequel, especially the cameo appearances of such old friends as Edward the moose. Daigneault incorporates two time-honoured toddler themes, getting lost and the new baby, and both are resolved in a reassuring way. But there are a lot of bears down in the woods today and, standing as he does in the shadow of Pooh, Paddington and Corduroy, and the little bears of Jez Alborough, Martin Waddell and Brenda Silsbe, Bruno doesn’t make much of an impact in this particular story.


Reviewer: Sarah Ellis

Publisher: HarperCollins


Price: $16

Page Count: 32 pp

Format: Cloth

ISBN: 0-00-224411-X

Released: Feb.

Issue Date: 1997-1

Categories: Picture Books

Age Range: ages 3–7