When Joe is faced with a big move to a new country, leaving behind his friends, most of his family and his pet dog, he’s worried about making new friends and fitting in. Finding his luggage is missing when they arrive at the airport is bad enough, but there in its place on the baggage carousel is a huge, furry polar bear. The big label round his neck declares that this is Mr P and before they know where they are, Joe has signed for him and he’s accompanying them to their new home.
This is my favourite Mr P adventure so far! He remains his reassuring, adorable self, offering comfort and support whilst Joe needs it before leaving him with the strength to continue alone. There is plenty of fun and humour along the way, but Joe learns much about himself -and others.
Like its predecessors, this is a gentle story which encourages empathy and understanding. Mr P’s silent actions affirm Joe’s emotions and reassure his doubts, yet also make him reconsider and question the way he is behaving. The story lends itself beautifully to discussions about the importance of giving things a go and not judging others quickly, of accepting change and staying true to yourself.
Although Joe is in a wheelchair, this is not a book about disability. Joe is a fully rounded character who just happens to be in a wheelchair. Ellie, one of the friends he left behind, is a great character- full of enthusiasm, good advice and action, supporting Joe from afar. Joe’s new friends living in the unnamed country Joe moves to (my money is on Canada!)- are also an interesting bunch!
Daniel Rieley’s wonderful illustrations are peppered throughout the text, adding to the humour of the story. Whether creating a snow bear, playing the ukulele or watching an ice hockey match, Mr P’s gentle, expressive face is a joy to see. Mr P’s Snow Storm Survival Guide at the end of the book offers good advice- and humour- for what to do should you find yourself caught in a blizzard!
Me and Mr P: Joe’s New World is a delightful, heartwarming tale of friendship, family and adventure. With Mr P leaving in search of a new child to comfort at the end of the story, there will hopefully be many more stories about this adorable bear in the future.
Me and Mr P: Joe’s New World Maria Farrer, illustrated by Daniel Rieley
OUP ISBN: 978-0192766533