Many thanks to Amber from Midas Pr for the invitation to take part in the blog tour for ‘The Bear in the Fifth Floor Flat’ by John Foley, illustrated by Alice Hawthorn. All profits from the sales of this book will be donated to Mencap. Here is my review:
All profits from sales of this book will go to Mencap, the UK’s leading charity for people with a learning disability.
The Bear in the Fifth Floor Flat is a moving, magical and charming tale exploring love, loss and happiness through the lens of a little girl and her extraordinary bear, teaching children the importance of change and how to recognise complex notions like grief.
For young Ruthie and her dog Scruffy the days are full of fun and laughter – until certain events change everything, and it seems that Ruthie will never be happy again. But fate can also be kind, and the sudden arrival of an extraordinary teddy bear begins to restore her happiness – and to save her life just in time for Christmas.
Inspired by a rather strange-looking teddy bear gifted to his wife by her 97-year-old father, so she had something to hug when he was gone, John will donate all profits from this book to charity. As the son of a neurologist who specialised in cerebral palsy, John often heard his father speak about Mencap and their invaluable work for people with a learning disability. Also, a very close friend who encouraged John to start writing, was, as a result of a deadly illness at an early age, deeply affected by a learning disability.
What does TWG think?
It makes a change to be reviewing a children’s book on the blog today, it’s not something that happens very often! As soon as I heard that John Foley’s book was associated with learning disability charity, Mencap, I knew that I wanted to put the book on my blog as it’s for such a brilliant cause.
I read ‘The Bear in the Fifth Floor Flat’ to my daughter before bed, however I never excepted her to burst into tears at the loss of a particular four legged character. Now, my little girl is an animal lover and was over the moon to find that the book contained a scruffy little dog called, erm, Scruffy. I had absolutely no idea that the poor pooch would have a limited staring role in the book! Personally, I cannot see the association between Scruffy and the rest of the book and, whilst I am very well aware that learning about grief is a very important part of life, I did feel as though that was a little bit too cut throat…especially as there are different types of grief and Ruthie was about to embark on a journey which contained one of those types.
Now I’ve expressed that, Measly was a lovely little addition to the story, as was the character ‘Mrs Nosey’ which had my daughter giggling as she loved the name! I thought the storyline involving the teddy was incredibly cosy and enjoyable bedtime read. Kudos to John Foley for including the topic of separation also. A topic that was very sensitively dealt with, and simply written for children to get their heads around in their own little way.
‘The Bear in the Fifth Floor Flat’ also included a little short story at the end called ‘Once bitten…Twice’. I know that this review isn’t about the short story, but can I just say what a hilarious little read that was!
Overall, my little girl Eva, enjoyed the story of ‘The Bear in the Fifth Floor Flat’, and now wants her own stripey hat like Uncle Ted!