The Boy, the Bear, the Baron, the Bard, by Gregory Rogers

This is a delightful, wordless picture book – original in its concept with unexpected treasures on every page.

It is a time travel fantasy which relates the chase by the Bard of a young boy who wanders through the curtain onto the stage of the Globe Theatre in London while following his soccer ball.

The format has obvious appeal to children (up to 10 years of age) with the main character – ‘the boy’ – depicted as a very young protagonist.

Gregory Rogers uses sequential, individual picture frames to relate this exciting tale. He incorporates a sustained, understated sense of humour throughout.

This is a book to be revisited more than once to discover the detail in the pictures and the subtlety in the humour. The joy of childhood and children’s play contrasts with the more serious presentation of adult play in the Shakespearean work. Is it ‘Romeo and Juliet’? I think that I can see the good Friar on the stage.

This sophisticated adventure will also be attractive to older students and adults. It will be useful for History, Art and Drama students in the secondary school with attention to detail in the landscapes, settings and costumes of the Elizabethan period. Even without words much about the design, construction, colour and texture of the costumes of the period is conveyed to an older audience. For English students it would be a stimulating introduction to the study of a Shakespearean text in the Middle school – particularly ‘Romeo and Juliet’.

The Boy, the Bear, the Baron, the Bard, by Gregory Rogers
Allen & Unwin, 2004