A youth album with a bear called “Ours”? A little limited, imagination question. It is only by closing this pretty album in linocut, made of blue and a zest of neon orange, that we understand. The author, Andrée Prigent, who lives in Rennes, was certainly not going to bother with the superfluous. It is even quite the opposite. His album is called: Bear and things.
“Things” is that portmanteau in which we put just about everything. For Ours, it will be four wheels, five bells, a cage… Young readers will think of their toys collected at the foot of the tree and already forgotten in a corner of the room. It also works for adults: new TV, computer, shoes, car, house … In this story, here’s the problem: Bear doesn’t have time for anything, since he spends his time filling his cart.
“The left arm pulls the cart,
the right arm picks up things …
And the cart fills up.
But that’s never enough for Ours ”
Bear walks, looking at his paws, muzzle in the handlebars, without asking any questions. “With his hunched back, he looks like he’s in some trouble.” Until the day when… bim, bam, boom. The text is short, collected. No frills, no extra words. It reads quickly and at the same time, it invites reflection after closing it. Perhaps because there is no ready-made, premade moral. The air of nothing, this album says a lot. It is a fable about overconsumption in which we bathe. And that blindness that comes with it, that stuff that makes you want more as if it could help you feel better. Between the lines of the album, we also read an ecological message if we want. In this mix of blue and orange, the linocut illustrations also lead far, filled with poetry.
In his galley, Ours is lucky, he is saved in extremis by a bird. Fortunately he still had his ears sharpened to hear the squeals – it happens that some, obsessed with “things” to collect, do not even pay attention to the birds. In this story, the savior is a lark… named Alouette. Thanks to her, Ours stands up, rediscovers the trees and the sky in the distance. His cart is all broken, however, but joy of recycling: it is already used as a hiding place for blue rabbits, at the ends of the orange legs.
Andrée Prigent, Bear and things, from 3 years old, Didier Jeunesse, 32 pages, 13.90 euros.