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Whatever Next is a childrens story written and illustrated by Jill Murphy. Jill Murphy is also well known for creating the popular childrens book Peace At Last. She also created The Worst Witch series of books and The Large Family picture books. Whatever Next was first published in 1983.
The book is A4 size and paperback. The front cover (and pages) are quite thin unfortunately, so make sure young children are supervised! On the front cover is a large and rather fun picture of Baby Bear sitting in a box (with a colander on his head), zooming out of a chimney, whilst a cat looks on!
The story is fun and simple. It starts with Baby Bear asking Mummy Bear if he can go to the moon. Mummy Bear tells him that he can't because it's bath time and he doesn't have a rocket either! So Baby Bear finds a 'rocket' under the stairs, a 'space helmet' on the draining board and a pair of 'space boot's by the door. He packs his teddy and some food, and zooms up the chimney in his rocket (which is actually a box). Baby Bear flies through the night sky and even passes by an aeroplane. He befriends an owl and they visit the moon together. The moon seems a bit boring so Baby Bear and the owl have a picnic together. Baby Bear realises his bath must be ready, so makes his way home and says goodbye to the owl. Baby Bear lands on the living room carpet with a bump and Mummy Bear gasps "Look at the state of you! Why, you look as if you've been up the chimney!". Baby Bear points out that he HAS been up the chimney - he found a rocket and visited the moon! Mummy Bear laughs "You and your stories. Whatever next?".
The illustrations are lovely and enjoyable to look at. Each page has a full colourful picture and there are even black and grey pictures on the text pages (these give you more of an idea of what Baby Bear is getting up to). I never read this book as a child but I used to love Peace At Last. The pictures in this book are very similar to Peace At Last, which makes me feel even more positive towards it.
My daughter (who recently turned 6) regularly asks for this book at bedtimes and has done so for a few years. It's just the right length and it's a nice, enjoyable, easy going story for settling down to. My daughter is usually captivated until the end and doesn't lose interest. I like the fact that the book makes use of imaginative play and encourages children to use their own imagination like Baby Bear. As my daughter has now begun reading, she is also interested in helping me read the book - there is no repetition or rhyming, but there are a lot of small words for reading beginners to sound out (Eg. Can, go, to, the, mat, by, for, off, up). I think this book would be enjoyed best between 2-6 years.
Whatever Next is available at most good book shops and book schemes and the RRP is £4.99, but you can usually find it cheaper in most places. I thoroughly recommend!
As a child I was a very big reader! I used to read so many books, that the teachers in primary school even used to ask me to recommend books that they could buy for the school. One of my favourite authors when I was younger was Jill Murphy who wrote one of my favourite children's series, called 'The Large Family'.
I recently came across this children's book 'Whatever Next', when I was doing some Christmas shopping. I loved the author so much as a child that I decided to buy this book as a Christmas present for a child. The book is currently available to buy from Amazon for a price of £3.11 which I think is excellent value!
In this book : Baby Bear wants to go to the moon. He searches all over the house for something suitable to use as his rocket. He finds a carboard box and uses this to fly him to the moon. Along the way he makes friends with an owl and even has a picnic on the moon. When he returns his mother does not believe where he has been!!!
The book is very exciting for young readers, and they will enjoy joining Baby bear on his journey to the moon. It is a simple yet very effective story which children will enjoy reading over and over again. Slightly older children will enjoy reading the book themselves. There are also some great illustrations in this book, which clearly explain what is happening in the story which I think is very useful.
I love the message that this book sends out to children ; Reach for your dreams! It teaches you to believe in yourself and aim to achieve your dreams (like Baby Bear) and not to listen to anyone else who doesn't believe you or think that you can do it (like Mother Bear!).
I would definately recommend this book to all young readers! It would make a great stocking filler for children!
Thanks for reading!
November 27th 2010
xd-o-n-z-x (also posted on ciao under xdonzx)
This book was first published in 1983, and was a favourite of my daughters' when they were little - where have the years gone!
I had forgotten all about it until a work colleague's grandaughter came in clutching it in her hands the other week, saying it is her favourite book and wanted to show me.
As I sat down and looked through the book with her, a lot of happy memories came flooding back, as I recalled reading it with my children.
Whatever Next is written by Jill Murphy, who also wrote and illustrated the very successful 'Worst Witch' books and also who could forget her enchanting books about a family of elephants - 'Peace At Last' and 'All In One Piece' and 'A Piece of Cake' etc ? All her books are well-written and beautifully illustrated, and 'Whatever Next' is no different.
It tells the tale of Baby Bear, who one day asks his mummy if he can go to the moon. His mother explains he cannot go to the moon and tells him it is nearly time for his bath. Not undeterred, Baby Bear then searches around the house and finds a rocket , which really is a carboard box, and using a colander as a space helmet and wellies for space boots, he blasts off out of the chimney and off to the moon.
Baby Bear is joined by an Owl on his journey, and together they reach the moon and have a picnic. When he returns to Earth in time for his bath, and tells his mother where he has been, she doesn't believe him!
This is a simple story, but one which will delight young children as Baby Bear's innocence and imagination are brilliantly portrayed in this magical tale that begins with an innocent question: "Can I go to the moon?"
The thing that really stands out for me and which my daughter's loved, were the beautiful, bold and very colourful illustrations in this book, beginning with the front cover depicting Baby Bear blasting off out of the chimney in a cardboard box into the night sky, and continuing throughout the book.
The story is a simple text, great for reading aloud to your children and also for young readers to read along. Although it states the book is for ages 3+, this is a book which can be enjoyed by all ages, and is one that will want to be read again and again. My colleague's grandaughter's favourite part is the "whoosh!" as Baby Bear takes off into the night sky in his makeshift spaceship.
I enjoyed reading this gem of a book again, and highly recommend this and the other works of Jill Murphy to all parents of young children.
The book was published by Walker Books originally in 1983, but a new edition published by MacMillan children's books was published in 1995 and is available as a board book and a paperback.
Currently available from Amazon for only £3.89 new (RRP £5.99) and used from 47p.
Another of our well read favourites, and having first been published in 1983, it has been read to all 3 of my children and to many classes of children.
Great opening line "Can I go to the moon?" asked Baby Bear. We like this because it is the kind of question children can ask when employing bath or bed delaying tactics and are looking out of their bedroom window.
Mrs Bear soon puts a stop to these musings because she tells Baby Bear that he needs a bath first (typical mummy style) and that he would need a rocket.
The bath appears to be forgotten, and baby Bear finds a rocket under the stairs, which is a cardboard box, he finds a space helmet in the shape of a collander, and space boots, which are his wellingtons.
He packs all the things he needs for a trip to the moon- his teddy and some food, and takes off up the chimney...WHOOSH!! He really does fly up through the chimney and passes an owl who admires his rather smart rocket and joins Baby Bear on his journey.
they wave to people on an aeroplane, and after flying higher and higher and passing millions of stars, they land on the moon. How do they find the moon? After eating the food, they realise that there is nobody else there and that it is all a bit boring. Baby Bear decides that they should go back because his bath will be ready, so they fly down and down. Owl flies out of the rocket and then the rain starts, drippinmg through Baby Bear's helmet, and making him look thoroughly miserable, hunched up in his bax. Little miss wonders how the box doesn't get soggy and collapse, but that's not part of the story!
He eventually flies down through the chimney and lands on the floor with a BUMP! There is no soot on the carpet but Mrs Bear comments on the state of Baby Bear and states that he looks as though he has been up the chimney.
As he is being bathed, Baby Bear tells her that he has been up the chimney and that he visited the moon.
IOn true mummy fashion, she comments on him and his stories "whatever next?"
We know differently, because we saw him on the moon.
On each double spread, the writing is on the left hand side, leaving a full page to the left for the picture (this changes only once).
Where the text is, the background is white until the part of the story where Baby Bear leaves the house to go to the moon. Then the background becaomes black and the writing white, which gives a much better feeling of it being night time.
The illustrations are bright and cheerful and baby Bear looks jolly in his bright red dungarees and yellow wellingtons. The contrast between the dark possibly cold outside of the house is made obvious by the fact that the inside of the house looks really warm and cosy with lots of muted orange and yellow colours.
Because the facial expressions are obvious, children can talk about how the characters feel- whan Baby Bear is miserable, he really does look miserable.
**OTHER BITS OF INFORMATION**
My copy of the book is published by Macmillan Children's Books, 1983, ISBN 0-333-40438-6.
It can be bought from amazon, with prices starting from 99p for used and £4.99 for a new copy.
**OTHER BOOKS BY THE AUTHOR**
Jill Murphy has written and illustrated some great children's books, including:
Peace At Last
All In One Piece
The Worst Witch
On The way Home
As I said at the beginning, this is one of our favourites, along with some of the other Jill Murphy books.
The story and illustrations really appeal to children's imaginations, and I think the fact that Baby Bear shows real initiative in his role play, encourages children to do the same.
Whilst i think it's strange that Mrs bear talks about a bath and then disappears merely highlights the age I am. Children don't find it strange that Baby Bear is then allowed to go to the cupboard under the stairs to find his rocket. All of this time, though I am thinking the thought "where is Mrs Bear-it's bathtime".
Children also love the fact that he whooshes out of the chimney and again find this the most natural thing in the world to do. They don't doubt for one moment that he will go to the moon, and little miss enjoys the bit at the end when he is talking to his mum about his trip to the moon. She doesn't believe him, and little miss feels delighted that she knows something his mum doesn't know, because he HAS been to the moon.
I would read this story to children from an age when they enjoy a story and can understand the plot (such as it is). there is quite alot of writing on each page, but in my experience, children as young as 3 years old enjoy the story and can talk about what is happening and what they would do on the moon.
Lots of ways to encourage children to use their imaginations- where would they go? What would they take? Who would they take? How would they feel? The list is endless.
Lovely bedtime story, and one which I would recommend.
thanks for reading.
As an Easter present this year my parents bought the children Book Tokens. A fabulous idea as it meant that they could choose some books to add to the collection of the many books which they have already. For Murray it is often quite hard to strike a balance on a not too simple book and not too grown up for him yet book. He loves "Peace at Last" by Jill Murphy, so when I saw "Whatever Next!" by Jill Murphy, I decided that we would get that one for him. Whatever Next introduces us to the Bear family again. Baby Bear is peering out of the window out into the dark night and asks to go to the moon. His mother says no because it is Bathtime. Does that deter Baby Bear? Of course not, he is a little bear who loves adventure. He finds himself a space rocket, then a hat and space boots and he heads off up the chimney in search of a trip to the moon. He goes and come back having had a bit of an adventure, he seemed to suffer a disappointment there and has to have a bath too. The story is simple and easy to understand. Murray tends to have a short attention span at the moment, but for this book he will sit and also take part. Often when I know I am going to read this book, I get out a box a colander and wellie boots just like Baby Bear so that the children can "find" these things and pretend to be like baby bear. The book can easily be used as role play with lots of fun going on. Murray loves following Eilidh and grabby the sieve for his head and putting on his newly acquired wellie boots! The pictures are really well drawn and done my Jill Murphy herself. They have so much detail that quite often Eilidh and I can spend a hole story time discussing what is going on in the pictures. This is an ideal way of starting c
hildren off to read. It forms the first part of their literacy skills. The illustrations are great and Baby Bear looks so cuddly that I just want to haul him out of the picture and give him a great big hug. I like the fact that this is about night time and having a bath. Both my 2 seem to drift off into a world of their own whenever bath time is mentioned and try to pack in as much as possible before being dragged upstairs. It's an ideal story for bedtime and allows a child to know that they are not alone when it comes to going for a bath followed by bed. A child is never too young for any book, and this one is no exception. Eilidh has had this out of the library a few times. I find that it is how you read and adapt a story is how well they will adapt it. You can just use the pictures or you can use both. But I am sure this will become a firm favourite in many houses. Printed in paperback and board book, both are available for £4.99 at any good bookstore and is also printed by MacMillian. It was first published in 1983 and reprinted in 1995. Well worth an addition to any Childrens Library!
" Whatever next ? ", is another book by Jill Murphy that I like. I recently took this out from the children's library and it was on the Tweenies story time a while ago. Its about little bear waiting for a bath but he wants to go to the moon. So while he is waiting he gets in a cardboard box and WHooshsh... ,up the chimney and to the moon... meeting a few friends on the way and stopping on the moon for a picnic before going home. I think this is a lovely story and encourages children of all ages to use their imagination. In this age of computer games, television and play station, children no longer imagine that they have something or are going somewhere. I feel that children should read a lot more and I try to encourage my daughter to read and draw. After all its fun and they learn more from playing than from anything else. But don't get me wrong all computer games, etc can be good fun, if used accordingly. The book itself is easy to read with lots of pictures, which you could make up hundreds of other different stories and has a good vocabulary of words for children to learn. Its quite short but long enough to keep attention there for 5 mins. I think its a lovely book and brilliant for a bed time read.
Reading books with my son, I'm frequently amazed how good the pictures are, compared with the books from when I was a kid. Any of the pictures in this book, all full page in size, wouldn't look out of place on a nursery wall. The story tells of baby bear who decides he wants to go to the moon. Mummy bear tells him he can't because it's nearly bathtime but he goes off and finds a rocket under the stairs, a box for a spaceship, a colander for a space helmet, packs some supplies for the journey and sets off up the chimney. He meets an owl on route, has a picnic on the moon and then comes home, all before bathtime! The story is told in such a matter of fact way that you actually believe it could happen. There's a full page picture to go with every page of the story enabling even the youngest child to tell the story in his own words. One of my son's favourites.
The moon and back before bathtime? Whatever next! Join Baby Bear as he finds a rocket, makes friends with an owl and has a picnic on the moon! A beautiful story of innocence and imagination, full of Jill Murphy's characteristic warmth and humour, this is the second Bear family adventure following the bestselling Peace at Last.