In the footsteps of Paddington, another bear travels alone to London, getting in trouble with the law.
Snowpo, a cheery polar bear cub, has flown to London and is hungry after his long journey. “His tummy rumbled for fish and chips, / He looked at London and licked his lips.” Before he knows it, though, he’s arrested for disturbing the peace and must rely on a friendly lawyer to help defend him in court. The cartoon illustrations, with their bright colors and exaggerated expressions, are appealing and funny, but the story doesn’t deliver. It is never quite clear why Snowpo is arrested, a crucial step that sets the whole story in motion. While the resolution is charming—Snowpo and the judge bond over their common love of fish and chips—the judge’s decision is silly beyond reason. The narration, word highlighting and pacing work well in combination with the lock-step rhyming couplets, but the use of British punctuation conventions may trip up American readers. The interactive elements are quite shallow and will not sustain readers’ attention, though they may be entertaining at first. Each page includes a question or puzzle, but they do not develop readers’ understanding of the story, and no answers are provided.
Although sweet, this story about a polar bear in search of fish and chips skates on thin ice—the appealing cartoons can’t make up for the gaping plot holes. (iPad storybook app. 4-6)