This is an odd little book for sure. Shelton’s illustrations have some of the whimsy of Peggy Fortnum’s classic drawings of Paddington Bear, but the story of this unnamed ursine and lad, though grounded in a wealth of specific physical detail, is almost certainly too amorphous for most children’s taste. The book plainly operates at a symbolic level, but it’s not as obvious about at it as, say, Jonathan Livingstone Seagull or The Old Man and the Sea. It’s like an unlikely meeting of Paddington and Candide, or perhaps Godot’s patient pals. I liked it quite a bit.