Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Albert Le Blanc

Albert Le Blanc

Nick Butterworth
Picture Book and audio CD
For ages 3 to 6
Performed/read by: David Jason
HarperCollins UK, 2003   ISBN: 0007119712

When Albert Le Blanc arrives in Mr. Jolly’s toyshop, all the other toys are concerned because Albert has the saddest face they have ever seen on a bear. Being a kind and generous crowd, the toys decide that they need to do something to cheer Albert up. Pickle the mouse knows a joke that she could tell, but she has forgotten the punch line. Then Jack-in-the-box comes up with a wonderful idea. He suggests that each animal should think of something “happy and funny, something to cheer up a very sad bear. Then they will put all their ideas together and put on a show for Albert.

So the toys begin their preparations. Sally, the hippo ballerina tells Albert about the show and he tries to tell the animals something but no one listens – they are all too busy getting ready for the show. If they had bothered to listen to what Albert had to say they could have saved themselves a lot of trouble, but they soon find out Albert’s secret for themselves.

This wonderfully funny story with its lovingly illustrated picture book and its accompanying book on tape would make a perfect gift for a sad child who needs to be cheered up. Within the illustrations, children will find pictures of some of their favourite children’s book characters on the toy shop shelves and in the background of the story. Albert’s sad face and his transformation into quite a different and definitely un-sad bear will bring out a smile on the face of even the most reluctant listener or reader.

With lots of background sounds, and narrated by David Jason with great energy and humour, the book on tape that accompanies the picture book is sure to entertain.