Norton and the Bear
Gabriel Evans
Publisher: Berbay Publishing
ISBN: 9780648785132
Awards Year: 2021
Category: The Picture Book of the Year
Judge's Critique
Taking the notion that ‘imitation is the best form of flattery’, Norton is a character who will be readily identified by readers as one who doesn't like anyone stealing his thunder. The illustrations are rendered with deftness that perfectly pace the story and depict Norton’s increased anxiety as he tries to outsmart the Bear. The use of watercolour and pencils give the book a lovely ambience and Evans pitches his characters against white backgrounds. Characterisation is strong and readers will find it easy to empathise with Norton and Bear and their specific 'side of the story.' The visual and written text work perfectly and the typography is unusual but appropriate to the mood and style of the book. The resolution of the story, in which both characters are winners, is reassuring and pleasing. Text and the illustrations work as one, with animals and humans littered through several pages. Lots of detail with minimal fuss make this a delightful book.