BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations
Book Title: Me and Mister P: Joe’s New World (Available here)
Author(s): Maria Farrer
Illustrator: Daniel Rieley
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: February 2019
Most Suitable For: Years 2-4
Review By: Carol Carter (@HPS Library), Librarian
11-year-old Joe is usually a popular and happy boy but the prospect of a big move to a new (unnamed) country leaving behind his friends, family and pet dog seems bleak. Luckily Joe won’t be lonely for long, as when their suitcases appear on the airport conveyor belt, so does Mr P, a huge, furry, real live polar bear! Anyone who has read the previous books in the Me and Mister P series will know that the adventure has just begun and that they are in for a hilarious treat of revolving doors, icecapades, lawnmower chases and never-ending handshakes.
While the funny scenes will have children chortling, this book also has a lot more going on beneath its covers (wonderfully illustrated by Daniel Rieley). Like the previous 2 books in the series, it has a gentle, warm heart that encourages empathy with all of the various characters. Joe is in a wheelchair, but this is definitely not a book about disability, it’s about a boy who just happens to be disabled. Mister P can’t talk (he is a polar bear after all) but the wisdom he conveys with simple actions and quizzical head tilts shows Joe the way to cope with his new life by living a little outside of his comfort zone and by making the effort to fit in while remaining true to himself.
Themes of homesickness, loneliness and fitting in are explored in an insightful way. Lessons such as ‘don’t judge by first impressions’, ‘if you don’t try, you’ll never know’ and the value of friendship never overwhelm the story but open lots of possible avenues for discussion.
I often find many books for the 7-9 years age range can focus too much on silliness, but Me and Mister P is a perfect mix of humour, adventure and deeper themes, with something to offer all children. Perfect for Years 3-4 to read alone, this would also make a great class reader for Year 2.
Luckily for us, but sadly for Joe, at the end of the book Mister P sets off in search of a new child to help. The ‘Littlest Hobo’ structure of the Mister P books, always moving on when he is no longer needed, hopefully means we have many more Mister P adventures to look forward too, each with new settings and characters. I, for one, can’t wait!
Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to Carol for reviewing it.