Balthazar the Great

Balthazar the Great
Kirsten Sims
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

Balthazar, the polar bear is a violin player, the only remaining one left in all the circuses of the world. Until that is, he’s set free by a group of animal rights activists who leave him in the middle of he knows not where, to find his way home – so long as he can discover where to go.

On his journey he bids farewell to old friends …

and endeavours to make new ones.

He meets some kind-hearted souls but for much of his travels Balthazar is entirely alone – lonely, lost and overwhelmed by the enormity of what he’s attempting.
He even starts thinking about returning from whence he came;

but then all of a sudden he sees something. Could it possibly be who he thinks it is? The giver of Balthazar’s very first violin? …

In this, Kirsten Sims’ debut picture book, her spare text allows her eloquent gouache and ink  illustrations to carry much of the story, a story of the strength of family bonds and of journeying. Her colour palette is somewhat dark which seems to reflect the loneliness of the traveller.

The book’s creator resides in South Africa and that is where Balthazar starts his journey as is evident from the design on one of the mugs featured on the endpapers.

Do take a look at them all though.

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