Picture Book Review: Bertie the Buffalo by @WendyHJones @malcolmdown @LoveBooksGroup

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Bertie the Buffalo is based on a true story of when a Water Buffalo escaped from a Buffalo Park in Fife, near Dundee, Scotland. A rhyming book about the adventures Bertie got up to and how he safely returned home, demonstrating how important each of us is no matter how insignificant we feel. Bertie felt that no one noticed him. But he didn't need to think that as we are all special. We are all a part of one big family.
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 Review:

This was a really sweet little book about Bertie, a buffalo who runs away in an attempt to find a place where he really belongs. He feels he's too small to fit in with the other buffalo so he sets off on an adventure.

The book is told in rhyme, which I'm sure will appeal to small children, but in a way, I felt like being constrained by rhyming held the story back.  

Along the way, he meets a Lama, a fox and other animals. I felt like there was a missed learning opportunity here, for example, he could have remarked about how the fox lives in a den. It's touched on a little when he meets a Lama who explains how he's on Holiday from Peru. Loved that bit.

There were also one or two parts where the need to rhyme made the writing a little clunky. 

"But Bertie trotted deep inside, trying to be brave. He  stepped  inside  a  hollow,  that  acted  like  a  cave."

I liked the part about him being brave when facing his fears but I'm not sure how a hollow can 'act' like a cave. I think areas like this could have been structured better with the help of an editor.

The illustrations in the book nice for the most part. I some of the characters could have used a little more work to die down the style/design. I particularly liked this illustration of the farmer. The colours, the design, and the line work are really lovely (although we never find out why he's wearing those funny goggles!). 


There are issues within Bertie the Buffalo, but it does a decent job of getting the message across to children that you shouldn't run away to feel loved. I think younger readers will also love Bertie and the bright, eye-catching illustrations. 

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆


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Maddie's story raises the time-honored question of nature vs. nurture.

Parents abused by adult children suffer silently, shamed to the marrow by words, moods, acts, and blows that pierce through their imagined bubble of safety and kidnap any notions they had of sharing a mutually loving relationship with their children.
Maddie loved her daughters unconditionally . . . until, as a financially depleted and physically bruised senior citizen, she was forced to cut ties permanently with her adult descendants

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