When Boris and Betty tweeted the blurb of the first installment of their escapades about a week ago it seemed the perfect book to be introduced to as we neared the end of this year’s #30DaysWild:
“Boris and Betty are spending too much time on their favourite computer game, much to Mummy Bear’s dismay!
“But Mummy Bear has a plan to get her children back outside!
“With some friends popping up along the way, will these twin bears rediscover their love for the great outdoors, or will they be forever glued to their favourite computer game?”
Written by Lee Harris and illustrated by Jordan Brown, the minis were lucky enough for the author to send them a copy to see what they thought of the ursine pair’s excursion into “the world outside our door” and it arrived just in time for the end of the month-long challenge.
I love the colour tone of the bold, simple illustrations and how Boris’s favourite toy rabbit, that he obviously can’t leave home without, soon spends more time in his mother’s paw than his.
A great importance is placed on rhythm and rhyme in developing early literacy skills but I also find that books written this way can immediately help the reader find an engaging voice for the story when sharing them aloud and, along with an occasional typesetting highlight, it works well in this instance too.
The author is a father of three who has years of bedtime reading experience and was inspired to write Boris and Betty after becoming “frustrated with the current trend of children spending most of their spare time with an electronic gadget in their hand”. And it’s lovely to note that the twins don’t just find enjoyment in the countryside and active pursuits but also in finding friends to play with too as Daisy Deer and Henrietta Horse make cameo appearances. (Who doesn’t love a little bit of alliteration too?!)
Fun with friends and camping, playgrounds and kites are definitely topics that meet with the approval of the minis – kite flying was even desperately requested on our last camping trip despite a distinct lack of wind.
“Today has been fab, with lots to explore.
This kite’s amazing – we want to see it soar!
The world is a wonderful, joyous place
We’ve learned to enjoy and start to embrace.”
But, whilst coaxing them outside away from screens isn’t too hard at the moment, I can see a time coming in the not too distant future where it will become more of an issue. #30DaysWild has proved harder this year due to the demands of the school run which, due to the lack of local school places, sees us confined to the car for each trip as well as truncates our afternoons. Fortunately Luke’s school has great grounds and takes part in The Daily Mile initiative and Willow’s nursery has lovely outdoor play areas and even animals that they can observe and help in looking after. But it won’t be too many years before the classroom will swallow a significant part of their day and I don’t like that thought.
It will, however, give me plenty of reasons for keeping Boris and Betty as a staple part of our bedtime reading canon for years to come so we can ensure a yearning to head outdoors as much as possible during weekends and holidays.
And, whilst the bears realistically don’t give up their love for “tablets and gadgets galore” altogether, the tale’s closing couplet:
Now that the bears have begun to discover,
What future adventures will they uncover?
seems to suggest they might have further titles to add to it in the future too.
Find out more at www.borisandbetty.com