Ghost Bear is a story by the popular TV host, award-winning filmmaker, writer, comedian and artist Paul McDermott (I remember him most fondly from ‘Good News Week’) – and it is a beautiful starry night time book that follows themes of about love, loss, redemption, environment, climate change, family, hope and eternity.
This story surprised me. I thought it would be a sweet story about a bear, but it is quite unique and thought provoking. Right from the beginning it is poetic and layered with multiple meanings. The story follows a young lost bear who embarks on a journey.
At times, I felt this book went a touch over my head and I found all its meaning to be a little slippery. I think it will still appeal to kiddos for its illustrations, but not sure about the story to be honest, unless they are older readers ready for a challenge. I think as an adult I could really appreciate the incredible art and the fantastic poetic story, but I’m not sure how it will go down for little ones.
The oil painting illustrations really are stunning and a massive stand out feature on this picture book. The brilliant bright white of the snow contrasts strongly against the dark oceans and star covered sky. This is perhaps symbolic in itself, for the yin and yang of the universe that the story revolves around.
Ultimately, Ghost Bear is an enjoyable. but haunting, story for older readers – and apparently it is a companion to a short film of the same name! I think this book would work well in a classroom situation where the themes and meanings were discussed.
You can watch Paul McDermott talk about his book more and explain the meaning and inspiration behind it below!
Title: Ghost Bear
Author & Illustrator: Paul McDermott